OA Epidemiology

Changes in Smoking, Sports Participation and Overweight: Does Neighborhood Prevalence Matter?

Proceedings of the 2013 annual meeting of the Netherlands Epidemiology Society

Volume 1 Issue S1 Abstract 35


D.J. Blok, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
S.J. de Vlas, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
P. van Empelen, Research group Life Style, TNO, Leiden, the Netherlands
J.H. Richardus, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
F.J. van Lenthe, Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

A contextual determinant of health behaviors that has surprisingly little been studied is the prevalence of health-related behaviors. The reasoning behind examining this stems from the idea that behaviors are contagious. This study investigated associations between neighborhood prevalence of health-related behaviors and behavioral changes for smoking, sports participation and overweight over a 13 year period.

Longitudinal data of Dutch GLOBE study participants residing in 86 neighborhoods of Eindhoven at baseline in 1991 with a follow-up in 2004 were used. The study population consisted of 1) smokers, 2) people doing sports, and 3) people without overweight at baseline. Using multilevel analyses respectively smoking cessation, quitting sports, and becoming overweight at follow-up  were regressed to baseline neighborhood prevalence quartiles (i.e. non-smoking, no-sports participation, and overweight prevalence). These analyses were additionally controlled for age, gender, education and neighborhood deprivation.

Results showed that living in neighborhoods with a high prevalence of non-smoking, no- sports participation and overweight increased the odds of quitting smoking, quitting sports and becoming overweight. After adjustments for age, gender and education only quitting sports participation and becoming overweight showed significant results. Further adjustment for neighborhood deprivation resulted only in a significant association between becoming overweight and neighborhood prevalence of overweight.

Neighborhood prevalence of health-related behaviors, and in particular overweight, appears to be a currently neglected but relevant determinant of changes in behaviors. This may also imply that behaviors are contagious at neighborhood level. Future research might therefore consider using models for infectious diseases to study health-related behaviors.

Published: 06 Jun, 2013

Licensee OA Publishing London 2013. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)