International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 56, Issue 3, pp 237–246

The association between overweight and opportunity structures in the built environment: a multi-level analysis among elementary school youth in the PLAY-ON study

  • Scott T. Leatherdale
  • Theodora Pouliou
  • Dana Church
  • Erin Hobin
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00038-010-0206-8

Cite this article as:
Leatherdale, S.T., Pouliou, T., Church, D. et al. Int J Public Health (2011) 56: 237. doi:10.1007/s00038-010-0206-8

Abstract

Objective

To examine school-level opportunity structures of the built environment and student characteristics associated with being overweight.

Methods

Multi-level logistic regression analysis were used to examine the school- and student-level characteristics associated with the odds of a student being overweight among grade 5–8 students attending 30 elementary schools in Ontario, Canada, as part of the Play-Ontario (PLAY-ON) study.

Results

Significant between school random variation in overweight was identified [σμ02 = 0.187 (0.084), P < 0.001]; school-level differences accounted for 5.4% of the variability in the odds of a student being overweight. The more fast-food retailers there were surrounding a school, the more likely a student was to be overweight; students in grade 5 were at increased risk relative to students in grades 6–8. The more grocery stores there were surrounding a school, the more likely a student was to be overweight; students in grade 5 were at increased risk relative to students in grades 6–8.

Conclusions

Developing a better understanding of the school- and student-level characteristics associated with overweight among youth is critical for informing intervention programs and policies.

Keywords

Obesity/overweightBody mass index (BMI)Built environmentPhysical activityPreventionYouthSchool

Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Scott T. Leatherdale
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Theodora Pouliou
    • 4
  • Dana Church
    • 2
  • Erin Hobin
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Population Studies and SurveillanceCancer Care OntarioTorontoCanada
  2. 2.Propel Centre for Population Health ImpactUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  3. 3.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  4. 4.MRC Centre of Epidemiology for Child HealthCentre for Paediatric Epidemiology and Biostatistics, UCL Institute of Child HealthLondonUK
  5. 5.Department of Health Studies and GerontologyUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada