Longitudinal associations between neighborhood child opportunity and physical fitness for New York City public school youth

Hiwot Y. Zewdie, Amy Y. Zhao, S. Scott Ogletree, Sarah E. Messiah, Sarah C. Armstrong, Asheley C. Skinner, Cody D. Neshteruk, J. Aaron Hipp, Sophia E. Day, Kevin J. Konty, Emily M. D'Agostino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Neighborhood environments can support fitness-promoting behavior, yet little is known about their influence on youth physical fitness outcomes over time. We examined longitudinal associations between neighborhood opportunity and youth physical fitness among New York City (NYC) public school youth. The Child Opportunity Index (COI), a composite index of 29 indicators measuring neighborhood opportunity at the census tract level, along with scores on 4 selected COI indicators were linked to NYC FITNESSGRAM youth data at baseline. Fitness outcomes (measured annually, 2011–2018) included body mass index, curl-ups, push-ups, and Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) laps. Unstratified and age-stratified, adjusted, 3-level generalized linear mixed models, nested by census tract and time, estimated the association between COI and fitness outcomes. The analytical sample (n = 204,939) lived in very low (41%) or low (30%) opportunity neighborhoods. Unstratified models indicated that overall COI is modestly associated with improved youth physical fitness outcomes. The strongest opportunity-fitness associations were observed for PACER. Stratified models show differences in associations across younger vs. older youth. We find that neighborhood factors are associated with youth fitness outcomes over time, with the strength of the associations dependent on age. Future implications include better informed place-based interventions tailored to specific life stages to promote youth health.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberkwad101
Pages (from-to)1278-1287
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number8
Early online date21 Apr 2023
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • child opportunity
  • neighbourhoods
  • youth fitness


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