Gender-specific associations between perceived and objective neighbourhood crime and metabolic syndrome

Katherine Baldock, Catherine Paquet, Natasha Howard, Neil COFFEE, Anne TAYLOR, Mark DANIEL

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    Much research has considered the relationship between neighbourhood crime and physical activity, but few studies have assessed clinical outcomes consequent to behaviour, such as cardiometabolic risk. Fewer still have simultaneously assessed perceived and objective measures of crime. Perceptions of crime and actual victimisation vary according to gender; thus, this study sought to assess: 1) correspondence between perceived and objective neighbourhood crime; and 2) gender-specific associations between perceived and reported crime and metabolic syndrome, representing cardiometabolic risk. The indirect effect of neighbourhood crime on metabolic syndrome via walking was additionally evaluated. An Australian population-based biomedical cohort study (2004–2007) collected biomedical, socio-demographic, and neighbourhood perceptions data from n = 1,172 urban-dwelling, adults. Area-level reported crime rates were standardised and linked to individual data based on participants' residential location. Correspondence between actual and perceived crime measures was assessed using Pearson correlation coefficients. Cross-sectional associations between crime and metabolic syndrome were analysed using generalised estimating equations regression models accounting for socio-demographic factors and area-level income. Correspondence between perceived and objective crime was small to medium among men and women (r = 0.17 to 0.33). Among men, metabolic syndrome was related to rates of violent (OR = 1.21, 95% CI 1.08–1.35) and total crime (OR = 1.17, 95% CI 1.04–1.32), after accounting for perceived crime. Among women, metabolic syndrome was related to perceived crime (OR = 1.35, 95% CI 1.14–1.60) after accounting for total reported crime. Among women, there were indirect effects of perceived crime and property crime on metabolic syndrome through walking. Results indicate that crime, an adverse social exposure, is linked to clinical health status. Crime rates, and perceptions of crime and safety, differentially impact upon cardiometabolic health according to gender. Social policy and public health strategies targeting crime reduction, as well as strategies to increase perceptions of safety, have potential to contribute to improved cardiometabolic outcomes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0201336
    Pages (from-to)1-15
    Number of pages15
    JournalPLoS One
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2018


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