Outdoor physical activity, the neighborhood environment, and cardiometabolic health in low-income, predominantly African American Detroit residents

Authors: Kimberly A Clevenger*, Michigan State University, Amber L Pearson, Michigan State University, University of Otago, Karin A Pfeiffer, Michigan State University, Joseph Gardiner, Michigan State University
Topics: Geography and Urban Health, Recreational and Sport Geography
Keywords: healthy geography, GPS, accelerometer, walking, urban
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Outdoor physical activity (PA) affords positive (e.g., greenness) and negative (e.g., blight) visual experiences that influence cardiometabolic health. Prior studies focus on neighborhood-level predictors of ‘walkability’, rather than exposures actually encountered during outdoor PA, and few studies focus on low-income, minority participants. We tested for differences in i) cardiometabolic health indicators, ii) neighborhood-level characteristics, and iii) actual neighborhood exposures encountered while being physically active outdoors between those with low and high amounts of outdoor PA. Detroit residents (n=70; 3% white; 61% female) wore a Global Positioning System tracker and accelerometer (both 1-sec epoch) for one week to determine outdoor light-to-vigorous PA. Neighborhood characteristics (blighted structures and lots, park and industrial land area, and major highways within 100 m of home) and measured health indicators (blood pressure, heart rate, Hemoglobin A1c, anthropometrics) were compared between those with low and high levels of outdoor PA (median split). Actual exposure to greenness, parks, and vacant buildings or lots was quantified based on second-by-second GPS routes. Participants with valid accelerometer data had 4.1 ± 7.2 min/day of outdoor PA, on average. Those with lower levels of outdoor PA had higher Hemoglobin A1c (5.9 vs. 5.1, p=0.08, d=0.71) and Body Mass Index (32.1 vs. 25.8, p=0.01 d=1.00), as indicated by medium-to-large effect sizes. While outdoor PA was associated with health indicators, we report no differences in neighborhood characteristics between groups. We discuss actual contact with positive and negative exposures during outdoor PA, which may have a greater impact on outdoor PA and cardiometabolic health.

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