Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Neighbourhood environment as a predictor of television watching among girls
  1. K E MacLeod1,
  2. G C Gee2,
  3. P Crawford3,
  4. M C Wang2,3
  1. 1
    University of California, School of Public Health and Traffic Safety Center, Berkeley, CA, USA
  2. 2
    University of California, Los Angeles, School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA, USA
  3. 3
    University of California, School of Public Health and Center for Weight and Health, Berkeley, CA, USA
  1. Kara E MacLeod, MPH, MA, University of California, School of Public Health and Traffic Safety Center, 140 Warren Hall No 7360, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA; Kara.e.m{at}


Background: Television watching, a sedentary activity, has been associated with overweight in children. While the family environment is known to influence television watching, little is known about the influence of the neighbourhood environment. This study is an exploratory examination of the association of socioeconomic characteristics of the neighbourhood environment with television watching among 9–10 year old girls.

Methods: Data collected by the Berkeley site of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Growth and Health Study (NGHS) in 1987–8 from 787 girls who had a complete set of measurements relevant to the analysis were used. These measures included parental education, household income, race and weekly hours spent watching television. Addresses of the girls were geocoded and the median household income for the census tracts in which they lived was used to indicate neighbourhood socioeconomic characteristics. Multilevel modelling procedures were used to estimate fixed effect coefficients for individual and neighbourhood level variables.

Results: Living in high income areas was associated with less television watching, a finding that held even when controlling for parental education, household income and race. Race and parental education were also associated with television watching.

Conclusion: Television watching among girls was associated not only with the socioeconomic characteristics of their households, but also of their neighbourhoods. Future studies should explore the mechanisms that mediate this relation and determine if these results are generalisable to other populations.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding: Data from the NHLBI Growth and Health Study was from work supported by grants NO-HC 55023-26 and UO1-HL48941-44 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health.

  • Competing interests: None.

Linked Articles

  • In this issue
    Carlos Alvarez-Dardet John Ashton