Neighborhood Crime and the Weight Status of Older Adults: The Role of Gender

Haena Lee, University of Chicago
Kathleen A. Cagney, University of Chicago
Louise Hawkley, University of Chicago

This study examines the impact of crime on weight status for urban-dwelling older adults with particular attention to gender. We aim to investigate whether one type of crime, burglary, is associated with changes in waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) at older ages. We further examine the extent to which neighborhood context (e.g., physical disorder and social cohesion) moderates the effect of burglary on weight status. Merging a nationally representative study of older adults (aged 62-90) to geocoded crime data, we find, after controlling for neighborhood social characteristics and individual demographic and health behaviors, women living in communities with higher levels of burglary have a larger waist circumference. Similarly, higher levels of burglary in communities are significantly associated with higher BMI for women. However, these associations are not evident for men, indicating mechanisms which produce social environmental stressors may operate differently for men and women.

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Presented in Session 58: Environmental Stressors and Health