Neighborhood Environment Is Associated with Overweight and Obesity, Particularly in Older Residents: Results from Cross-Sectional Study in Dutch Municipality

Polina Putrik, Ludovic van Amelsvoort, Nanne K. De Vries, Suhreta Mujakovic, Anton E. Kunst, Hans van Oers, Maria Jansen, IJmert J. Kant

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We explored whether overweight and obesity were associated with the physical and social environment at neighborhood level. Data from Maastricht municipality survey (the Netherlands) were used (n = 9771 adults). Multinomial regression models were computed (outcome being normal weight, overweight, or obese). We found inconsistent associations between neighborhood social and physical environment characteristics and overweight and obesity in the total sample. The effects were more consistent and stronger for older residents (>65) and obesity as an outcome. Better scores on traffic nuisance, green space, social cohesion, nuisance, and safety were associated with lower odds of obesity among elderly (OR ranged between 0.71 [95 % CI 0.44 to 0.93] to 0.85 [95 % CI 0.74 to 0.96] for each point of improvement in neighborhood social and physical environment (scale 0–10)). We showed that there are neighborhood-level factors that are associated with obesity, particularly in elderly residents. These could be targeted in preventive strategies outside health care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1038-1051
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Neighborhood
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Social and physical environment
  • Socioeconomic inequalities

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