International Journal of Public Health

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 87–94 | Cite as

The association of recreational space with youth smoking in low-socioeconomic status neighborhoods in Santiago, Chile

  • Wonhyung Lee
  • Andrew Grogan-Kaylor
  • Guillermo Sanhueza
  • Fernando Andrade
  • Jorge Delva
Original Article



This study examines the relationship of neighborhood recreational space with youth smoking in mid- to low-income areas in the capital of Chile, Santiago.


A unique data set of adolescents (n = 779, mean age = 14, 51 % male) provided home addresses of study participants which were geocoded and mapped. Satellite maps of neighborhoods were used to identify open spaces for recreational use (e.g., soccer fields and plazas). Thiessen polygons were generated to associate study participants with the nearest available open space using ArcGIS. Regression models, with smoking as a dependent variable, were estimated in which age, sex, family socioeconomic status, peer substance usage, neighborhood crime, and accessibility of open space were covariates.


The results show that residential proximity to recreational space was significantly and inversely associated with tobacco consumption among female, but not male, adolescents. Age and neighborhood crime were both positively associated with tobacco consumption among both male and female adolescents.


This study suggests that recreational spaces in proximity to residences may have a positive impact on reducing adolescents’ inclination to consume tobacco. The relationship of the accessibility to such spaces with smoking appears to vary by adolescents’ sex.


Environmental health Residence characteristics Smoking Adolescent behavior GIS 



We are grateful to the families who participated in the Santiago Longitudinal Study. We also thank Professor Joe Grengs in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Michigan for his initial advice on the geographical analysis. Finally, we thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions for improving this paper.


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Copyright information

© Swiss School of Public Health 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wonhyung Lee
    • 1
  • Andrew Grogan-Kaylor
    • 1
  • Guillermo Sanhueza
    • 2
  • Fernando Andrade
    • 1
  • Jorge Delva
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile

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