Two-Year Changes in Child Weight Status, Diet, and Activity by Neighborhood Nutrition and Physical Activity Environment

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Aug;26(8):1338-1346. doi: 10.1002/oby.22247.


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine 2-year changes in weight status and behaviors among children living in neighborhoods differing on nutrition and activity environments.

Methods: A prospective observational study, the Neighborhood Impact on Kids study, was conducted in King County, Washington, and San Diego County, California. Children 6 to 12 years old and a parent or caregiver completed Time 1 (n = 681) and Time 2 (n = 618) assessments. Children lived in neighborhoods characterized as "high/favorable" or "low/unfavorable" in nutrition and activity environments, respectively (four neighborhood types). Child BMI z score and overweight or obesity status were primary outcomes, with diet and activity behaviors as behavioral outcomes.

Results: After adjusting for sociodemographics and Time 1 values, children living in two of the three less environmentally supportive neighborhoods had significantly less favorable BMI z score changes (+0.11, 95% CI: 0.01-0.21; + 0.12, 95% CI: 0.03-0.21), and all three less supportive neighborhoods had higher overweight or obesity (relative risks, 1.41-1.49; 95% CI: 1.13-1.80) compared with children in the most environmentally supportive neighborhoods. Changes in daily energy intake and sedentary behavior by neighborhood type were consistent with observed weight status changes, with unexpected findings for physical activity.

Conclusions: More walkable and recreation-supportive environments with better nutrition access were associated with better child weight outcomes and related behavior changes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Body Weight / physiology*
  • California / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child Development / physiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet*
  • Environment*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nutritional Status
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Washington / epidemiology