Objectives. We sought to determine whether there is an association between perceived neighborhood safety and body mass index (BMI), accounting for endogeneity. Methods. A random sample of 2255 adults from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Survey 2000-2001 was analyzed using instrumental variables. The main outcome was BMI using self-reported height and weight, and the main independent variable was residents' report of their neighborhood safety. Results. In adjusted analyses, individuals who perceived their neighborhoods as unsafe had a BMI that was 2.81 kg/m2 (95% confidence interval [CI]=0.11, 5.52) higher than did those who perceived their neighborhoods as safe. Conclusions. Our results suggest that clinical and public health interventions aimed at reducing rates of obesity may be enhanced by strategies to modify the physical and social environment that incorporate residents' perceptions of their communities.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health