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Although evidence suggests that neighborhood context, particularly socioeconomic context, influences child obesity, little is known about how these neighborhood factors may be heterogeneous rather than monolithic. Using a novel dataset comprised of the electronic medical records for over 250,000 children aged 2–17 nested within 992 neighborhoods in the greater Houston area, we assessed whether neighborhoods influenced the obesity of children differently based on sex. Results indicated that neighborhood disadvantage, assessed using a comprehensive, multidimensional, latent profile analysis-generated measure, had a strong, positive association with the odds of obesity for both boys and girls. Interactions revealed that the relationship between disadvantage and obesity was stronger for girls, relative to boys. Our findings demonstrated the complex dynamics underlying the influence of residential neighborhood context on obesity for specific subgroups of children.


NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Health & Place. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Health & Place, volume 68, in 2021.

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Available for download on Tuesday, August 23, 2022