Obesogenic influences in public housing: a mixed-method analysis

Am J Health Promot. Mar-Apr 2006;20(4):282-90. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-20.4.282.


Background: Obesity prevalence is higher among those who live in impoverished environments. This investigation identified obesogenic factors in urban neighborhoods surrounding public housing developments (HDs).

Design: Cross-sectional quantitative survey data from 14 HD neighborhoods and qualitative interviews of the HD managers.

Setting: Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Subjects: Environmental data were collected from HDs and surrounding neighborhoods, an area enclosed by an 800-m radius line drawn from the HD centroid. Qualitative data were collected from all 14 HD managers.

Measures: HDs were rated by a brief environmental audit. HD managers were assessed in a structured 45- to 60-minute interview about neighborhood factors influencing resident obesity.

Results: The properties were typically modern and well maintained; however, there were few physical activity (PA) resources and food sources on site. Most HD managers cited the availability of PA resources near the HD; however, there was wide variability in the type and accessibility of the resources. Only two HDs had a store that sold groceries within one block. Interviews identified fast food restaurants as common food sources, with few other food sources available.

Discussion: Data suggested that although strides have been made to increase safety and comfort in public housing, there remains poor access to PA resources and healthful food sources. Interventions and policies should consider access to PA resources and food sources.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Obesity*
  • Public Housing*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Urban Population