Engaging Urban Residents in Assessing Neighborhood Environments and Their Implications for Health

 Researchers have worked to delineate the manner in which urban environments reflect broader social processes, such as those creating racially, ethnically and economically segregated communities with vast differences in aspects of the built environment, opportunity structures, social environments, and environmental exposures. Interdisciplinary research is essential to gain an enhanced understanding of the complex relationships between these stressors and protective factors in urban environments and health.

Fruit and vegetable access differs by community racial composition and socioeconomic position in Detroit, Michigan.

OBJECTIVE: To compare the availability, selection, quality, and price of fresh fruit and vegetables at food stores in four Detroit-area communities: 1) predominately African-American, low socioeconomic position (SEP); 2) racially heterogeneous, low SEP; 3) predominately African-American, middle SEP; and 4) racially heterogeneous, middle SEP.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional observational survey, conducted fall 2002.
SETTING: Detroit, Michigan

Psychosocial stress and social support as mediators of relationships between income, length of residence and depressive symptoms among African American women on Detroit's eastside

 Patterns of mental health are clearly associated with life circumstances, including educational and economic opportunities, access to safe and supportive neighborhoods, socially structured exposures to stressors and to supportive relationships. In this article, we examine the social and economic correlates of depressive symptoms among African American women residing within a predominantly African American urban neighborhood in Detroit, USA, with relatively few economic resources.

Fruit and Vegetable Intake in African Americans: Income and Store Characteristics

The purpose of this study was to examine whether the characteristics of retail food stores where African-American women shopped mediated the association between their income and intake of fruits and vegetables. Food store characteristics included store type (supermarket, specialty store, limited assortment store, independent grocer), store location (suburbs, city of Detroit), and perceptions of the selection/quality and affordability of fresh produce for sale.

Neighborhood Racial Composition, Neighborhood Poverty, and the Spatial Accessibility of Supermarkets in Metropolitan Detroit

 Objectives. We evaluated the spatial accessibility of large "chain" supermarkets in relation to neighborhood racial composition and poverty.
Methods. We used a geographic information system to measure Manhattan block distance to the nearest supermarket for 869 neighborhoods (census tracts) in metropolitan Detroit. We constructed moving average spatial regression models to adjust for spatial autocorrelation and to test for the effect of modification of percentage African American and percentage poor on distance to the nearest supermarket.

How Neighborhood Environments Contribute to Obesity

 Until recently, researchers have focused most of their attention on psychosocial factors that contribute to obesity and related behaviors, such as diet and physical activity.1, 2 However, there is increasing recognition of the important role that environmental factors play in these behaviors.

Neighborhood retail food environment and fruit and vegetable intake in a multiethnic urban population.

 PURPOSE: To examine relationships between the neighborhood food environment and fruit and vegetable intake in a multiethnic urban population.
DESIGN: Analysis of cross-sectional survey and observational data.
SETTING: One hundred forty-six neighborhoods within three large geographic communities of Detroit, Michigan.
SUBJECTS: Probability sample of 919 African-American, Latino, and white adults.

Do neighborhood economic characteristics, racial composition, and residential stability predict perceptions of stress associated with the physical and social environment? Findings from a multilevel analysis in Detroit.

 As the body of evidence linking disparities in the health of urban residents to disparate social, economic and environmental contexts grows, efforts to delineate the pathways through which broader social and economic inequalities influence health have burgeoned. One hypothesized pathway connects economic and racial and ethnic inequalities to differentials in stress associated with social and physical environments, with subsequent implications for health.

Inter-rater and test-retest reliability: methods and results for the neighborhood observational checklist.

 The popularity of direct or systematic social observation as a method to evaluate the mechanisms by which neighborhood environments impact health and contribute to health disparities is growing. The development of measures with adequate inter-rater and test-retest reliability is essential for this research. In this paper, based on our experiences conducting direct observation of neighborhoods in Detroit, MI, we describe strategies to promote high inter-rater and test-retest reliability and methods to evaluate reliability.

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