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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Associations between objective and self-report measures of traffic and crime safety in Latino parents of preschool children

Author
item SOLTERO, ERICA - Arizona State University
item CERIN, ESTER - University Of Hong Kong
item LEE, REBECCA - Arizona State University
item O'CONNOR, TERESIA - Children'S Nutrition Research Center (CNRC)

Submitted to: Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/13/2016
Publication Date: 9/28/2016
Citation: Soltero, E.G., Cerin, E., Lee, R.E., O'Connor, T.M. 2016. Associations between objective and self-report measures of traffic and crime safety in Latino parents of preschool children. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. doi:10.1007/s10903-016-0498-8.

Interpretive Summary: Latino children are at an increased risk of becoming overweight or obese. Increased physical activity could help prevent obesity, and spending more time outdoors tends to increase young children's physical activity levels. However, parents often express concern over the safety of their neighborhood when considering whether to allow their child to play outdoors. The neighborhood environment therefore becomes an important variable when promoting physical activity and outdoor time for children. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between parent's perceptions of their neighborhood and objective measures of crime and traffic from that neighborhood. Findings from this study showed that objectively measured neighborhood safety had little to no association with perceived aspects of neighborhood safety. Perceived traffic safety was negatively associated with objective traffic hazard in parents with boys, but not girls. Promoting safe and secure places for young children to play outdoors needs to be at the forefront of programs to promote physical activity. However, future interventions for Latino preschools need to account for lack of correspondence between parent's perceptions of their neighborhood and objective data.

Technical Abstract: Differences in subjective and objective safety may be explained by moderators that shape parental perceptions of the environment. This study examined associations between subjective and objective measures of traffic and crime safety in preschool parents (N=240) and potential moderators. Community cohesion, social control, and physical activity parenting practices were measured. Objective measures of crime and traffic were measured at the block-group level. Linear models revealed perceived traffic was negatively associated with the traffic hazards (b=-0.03; 95% CI: -0.05, -0.01; p=.041). Acculturation moderated the relationship between perceptions of disorder and crime (b=0.001; 95% CI: 0.000, 0.003; p=.044). Poor community cohesion moderated the relationship between perceptions of disorder and crime (b=0.0015; 95% CI: 0.0002, 0.0028; p=.028). Perceived traffic safety was associated with the traffic hazard index in parents of boys (b=-0.04; 95% CI: -0.07, -0.01; p=.027). Acculturation and community cohesion can be used to align misperceptions of safety to actual safety to promote outdoor play.