Objectives: To examine associations between parent and child perceptions of the local neighbourhood and overweight/obesity among children aged 5-6 and 10-12 y.
Design: Cross-sectional survey.
Subjects: In total, 291 families of 5-6-y-old and 919 families of 10-12-y-old children.
Measures: Parent's perceptions of local neighbourhood and perceived child access to eight local destinations within walking distance of home; 10-12-y-old children's perception of local neighbourhood; socio-demographic characteristics (survey). Children's height and weight (measured).
Results: No perceptions of the local neighbourhood were associated with weight status among 5-6-y-old children. Among 10-12-y-old children, those whose parents agreed that there was heavy traffic in their local streets were more likely to be overweight or obese (OR=1.4, 95% CI=1.0-1.8), and those whose parents agreed that road safety was a concern were more likely to be obese (OR=3.9, 95% CI=1.0-15.2), compared to those whose parents disagreed with these statements.
Conclusions: This study suggests that parental perceptions of heavy traffic on local streets and concern about road safety may be indirect influences on overweight and obesity among 10-12-y-old children. Future work should also consider perceptions of the neighbourhood related to food choice.