Neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantage and body size in Australia's capital cities: The contribution of obesogenic environments

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Abstract

Residents of socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods have higher rates of overweight and obesity and chronic disease than their counterparts from advantaged neighbourhoods. This study assessed whether associations between neighbourhood disadvantage and measured body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference, are accounted for by obesogenic environments (i.e., residential distance to the Central Business District [CBD], supermarket availability, access to walkable destinations). The study used 2017-18 National Health Survey data for working-aged adults (aged ≥18 years, n = 9,367) residing in 3,454 neighbourhoods across Australia's state and territory capital cities. In five of eight cities (i.e., Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth) residents of disadvantaged neighbourhoods had significantly higher BMI and a larger waist circumference than residents of more advantaged areas. There was no association between neighbourhood disadvantage and body size in Hobart, Darwin, and Canberra. Associations between neighbourhood disadvantage and body size were partially explained by neighbourhood differences in distance to the CBD but not supermarket availability or walkable amenities. The results of this study point to the role of urban design and city planning as mechanisms for addressing social and economic inequities in Australia's capital cities, and as solutions to this country's overweight and obesity epidemic and associated rising rates of chronic disease.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0280223
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalPLoS One
Volume18
Issue number1 January
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2023

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