Perception of Neighborhood Crime and Drugs Increases Cardiometabolic Risk in Chilean Adolescents
Martinez, Suzanna M.
Reyes Jedlicki, Marcela
Cita de ítem
Journal of Adolescent Health 54 (2014) 718e723
Artículo de publicación ISI
Purpose: Studies report an association between neighborhood risk and both obesity and cardiometabolic
risk factors (CMR) among adolescents. Here we describe the effect of perceived
neighborhood risk on adiposity and CMR among Chilean adolescents.
Methods: Participants were 523 low- to middle-income Chilean adolescents. We assessed
neighborhood risk in early adolescence, adiposity in childhood and in early and later adolescence,
and blood pressure and fasting glucose in later adolescence. Neighborhood risk profiles were
estimated using latent profile analysis (LPA) and based on reported perceptions of crime and drug
sales/use. Using linear and logistic regression, we examined the effect of neighborhood risk on
adiposity and CMR.
Results: Mean age in early and later adolescence was 14 and 17 years, respectively. Participants
were 52% male, with a mean BMI z-score of .67, and 8% met criteria for metabolic syndrome.
LPA identified two neighborhood profiles: 61% low risk and 39% high risk. In later adolescence,
being in the high risk profile predicted a higher BMI z-score, waist-to-height ratio, and fat mass
index (p < .05). Adolescents in the high risk profile had three times greater odds of meeting
criteria for metabolic syndrome (OR ¼ 3.1, 95% CI: 1.5, 5.8) compared with those in the low risk
Conclusions: Our findings suggest that there are physiological responses to living in a neighborhood
perceived as “risky,” which may contribute to obesity and CMR even in adolescence. For
Chilean neighborhoods with high crime and drugs, targeted public health interventions and policies
for youth could be beneficial.
This research was funded by R01HL088530 (NIH-NHLBI, PI:
Gahagan); R01HD33487 (NIH-NICHD, PIs: Lozoff and Gahagan);
R01DA021181 (NIH-NIDA, PI: Delva). The first author acknowledges
D. Eastern Kang Sim for his support.