Neighborhoods and Obesity in New York City

Black, J.L., J. Macinko, L.B. Dixon, and G.E. Fryer, Jr.
Health & Place, Vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 489-499. 10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.12.007

Recent studies reveal disparities in neighborhood access to food and fitness facilities, particularly in US cities; but few studies assess the effects of multiple neighborhood factors on obesity. This study measured the multilevel relations between neighborhood food availability, opportunities and barriers for physical activity, income and racial composition with obesity (BMI≥30 kg/m2) in New York City, controlling for individual-level factors. Obesity rates varied widely between neighborhoods, ranging from 6.8% to 31.7%. Obesity was significantly (p<0.01) associated with neighborhood-level factors, particularly the availability of supermarkets and food stores, fitness facilities, percent of commercial land use and area income. These findings are consistent with the growing literature showing that area income and availability of food and physical activity resources are related to obesity.