Research Study Abstract

Neighbourhood Typologies and MVPA and Sedentary Time Outside School Hours

  • Presented on April 2014

Purpose: Most studies of neighbourhood features examine singular neighbourhood attributes, which may pattern in different ways. This study aimed to identify typologies of neighbourhood attributes and their associations with physical activity among children.

Methods: The homes of 808 children aged 5-6 and 10-12 years were mapped in a Geographic Information System. The following attributes were computed within 800m of each home: land use mix; playgrounds; sports venues; 4-way intersections; cul-de-sacs; ‘busy’ roads. Crime statistics were obtained at the post-code level. ActiGraph accelerometers were worn for seven days. Wards and K-median cluster analyses were used to identify distinct, interpretable clusters of neighbourhood attributes. Cluster membership was regressed on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary time in the after-school period (n=637) and on weekends (n=540), controlling for sex, age group, maternal education, accelerometer weartime and clustering by school.

Results: A four cluster solution was extracted: 1) high street connectivity, many play/sport destinations, high crime; 2) high mixed land use, few play/sport destinations, high traffic; 3) high mixed land use, few play/sport destinations, low traffic; 4) low street connectivity, many play/sport destinations, low crime. Membership of Cluster 1 was positively (B=9.1, p=0.05) and Cluster 2 was negatively (B=-9.7, p=0.022) associated with MVPA on weekends. Associations between Cluster 2 and sedentary time on weekends (B=15.9, p=0.056) and between Cluster 1 and MVPA on weekdays (B=2.0, p=0.078) approached significance.

Conclusions: The results highlight the importance of examining how neighbourhood attributes cluster and suggest that different combinations of attributes can have differential effects on physical activity.