The Environmental Barriers to Healthy Eating and Physical Act ...

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Abstract

The United States is in the midst of a childhood obesity epidemic. However, there is a dearth of literature on the health outcomes of children living in public housing developments and specifically children from racial and ethnic minorities. Thus, this study aimed to assess family and community-level factors contributing to childhood obesity among a sample of racial and ethnic minority low-income families residing in public housing. We interviewed a sample (n = 15) of predominantly racial/ethnic minority low-income housing residents in New York City (NYC) who were caring for an obese/overweight child at the time of the study. The urban setting of New York City offered a unique lens to the issue of childhood obesity and its complex causes. The results from this study indicated that the costs of living in gentrified neighborhoods, proximity to supermarkets, unmaintained play areas, and high-crime posed barriers to caregivers attempting to provide children with a health-promoting environment in public housing. These findings add to the growing literature on childhood obesity disparities and can potentially lend themselves to future research and the development of tailored interventions.