Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 95, Issue 5, pp 727–738 | Cite as

The Influence of Neighborhood Social Capital on Leisure-Time Physical Activity: a Population-Based Study in Brazil

  • Daiana Elias RodriguesEmail author
  • Cibele Comini César
  • Ichiro Kawachi
  • César Coelho Xavier
  • Waleska Teixeira Caiaffa
  • Fernando Augusto Proietti


Environmentally targeted approaches to promote physical activity are emerging in recent years as a complementary strategy to the traditional individual approaches. This study explored the relation between community social capital and leisure-time physical activity in an adult population-based sample in Brazil. We applied a generalized estimating equation approach to analyze a cross-sectional survey of 3667 adults living in 149 neighborhoods. Social capital was assessed by scales that measured collective efficacy and social cohesion in the neighborhood. We find that individuals living in areas with higher level of social cohesion were more likely to be physically active even after controlling for potentially confounding individual and area-level covariates (PR = 1.56; 95% CI = 1.13, 2.16). Collective efficacy was not significantly associated with leisure-time physical activity. Interventions to strengthen social cohesion in the community may be an avenue for promoting physical activity.


Social capital Physical activity Brazil Neighborhood effects 



The authors would like to thank the study participants. C. C. César and F. A. Proietti are fellows of the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Brazil.

Funding Information

Conselho Nacional de Pesquisa, Ministério da Ciência e Tecnologia, Brasil. Processo No. CNPq 409688/2006-1; Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa de Minas Gerais, Processo No. FAPEMIG CDS APQ 00677-08; Fundo Nacional de Saúde, Ministério da Saúde, Processo No. FNS 25000.102984/2006-97; National Institute of Health and Fogarty International, Processo No. 1R03TY008105-01


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Oswaldo Cruz FoundationMinas GeraisBrazil
  2. 2.Harvard School of Public HealthBostonUSA
  3. 3.Faculty of Health and Human EcologyMinas GeraisBrazil
  4. 4.Federal University of Minas GeraisMinas GeraisBrazil

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