The Effect of Neighborhood Context on Obesity among Youth

Steven E. Alvarado, University of Notre Dame

This study uses geo-coded data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and fixed-effects to estimate neighborhood effects on obesity for youth ages 2 - 18 between 1986 and 2008. This study contributes an analysis of movers and stayers, an accounting of neighborhood change over time, and an accounting of the effects of moving to affluence and gentrification. Among urban Blacks and Latinos, gentrification did not affect obesity while unemployment increased their odds of being obese. Among POOR and urban Black youth, moving to more affluent neighborhoods decreased the odds of being obese, but this effect waned over time. Meanwhile, POOR and urban Latinos did not benefit from either affluence or gentrification. Policies that move poor and urban minorities to more affluent neighborhoods and those that economically revitalize neighborhoods around them over time should enhance the resources and services available to these severely disadvantaged sub-populations.

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Presented in Session 103: The Neighborhood Context of Child Obesity