Contribution of neighborhood income and access to quality physical activity resources to physical activity in ethnic minority women over time

Am J Health Promot. 2015 Mar-Apr;29(4):210-6. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.130403-QUAN-148. Epub 2014 Feb 13.


Purpose: To create and test an index to indicate both availability and quality of physical activity (PA) resources (PARs), to examine associations between access to quality PARs and changes in PA, and to determine whether this association differed in lower- and higher-income neighborhoods.

Design: Longitudinal, 6-month intervention.

Setting: Houston and Austin, Texas.

Subjects: African-American and Hispanic or Latina women.

Measures: Women (N = 410) completed a questionnaire and accelerometry to measure PA. Neighborhoods (N = 163) were classified as lower- or higher-income by median household income at the census-tract level. PARs were audited using the PARA (physical activity resource assessment). Access to quality PARs was determined by a composite index (QPAR) of features, amenities, and incivilities.

Analysis: Repeated measures analyses of variance were used to examine changes in PA by (1) neighborhood income (lower/higher) and QPAR (lower/higher) groups, and (2) neighborhood income (lower/higher) and number of PARs (lower/higher) groups, adjusting for ethnicity, household income, and body mass index.

Results: Women in neighborhoods with lower QPAR scores had small increases in self-reported vigorous PA (M Δ = 327.8 metabolic equivalent of task [MET]-min/wk) and decreases in accelerometer PA (M = -3.4 min/d), compared to those with higher QPAR scores who had larger increases in self-reported vigorous PA (M Δ = 709.8 MET-min/wk) and increased accelerometer PA (M = 3.9 min/d). There was a significant interaction between changes in leisure-time PA, QPAR score, and number of PARs (p = .049). Women with both more PARs and higher QPAR scores reported greater increases in leisure-time PA than women with fewer PARs and lower QPAR scores.

Conclusion: Access to higher-quality PARs can help increase or maintain PA over time regardless of neighborhood income. PAR quality is a separate and distinct, important determinant of PA in ethnic minority women.

Keywords: Adults; Built Environment; Health focus: fitness/physical activity; Manuscript format: research; Minority Health; Outcome measure: behavioral; Physical Activity; Prevention Research; Research purpose: modeling/relationship testing; Setting: local community; Socioeconomic Status; Strategy: built environment; Study design: nonexperimental; Target population age: adults; Target population circumstances: education/income level, geographic location, and race/ethnicity; Women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Black or African American*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups*
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Social Class*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Texas