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- ItemThe Influence of Family Dog Ownership and Parental Perceived Built Environment Measures on Children’s Physical Activity within the Washington, DC Area(MDPI, 2017-11-16) Roberts, Jennifer D.; Rodkey, Lindsey; Grisham, Cortney; Ray, RashawnSedentary behavior and physical inactivity are significant contributors to youth obesity in the United States. Neighborhood dog walking is an outlet for physical activity (PA). Therefore, understanding the relationship between built environment, dog ownership, and youth PA is essential. This study examined the influence of dog ownership and parental built environment perceptions on children’s PA in the Washington, D.C. area. In 2014, questionnaires were mailed to 2000 parents to assess family dog ownership; children’s outdoor dog walking or playing; and parental perceived built environment measures. Chi-square analyses examined differences in parental perceived built environment measures between children with and without family dogs. The sample included 144 children (50% female; average-age 9.7 years; 56.3% White; 23.7% African-American; 10.4% Asian-American; 29.9% owned dog). Only 13% and 5.6% of the children walked or played outdoors with the dog daily, respectively. A significantly greater proportion (p-value < 0.05) of parents who owned dogs recognized and observed some home built environment measures (e.g., traffic speed on most streets is 30 mph or less) that were PA -promoting for their children. Findings suggest that dog ownership may provide more positive parental perceptions of the neighborhood built environment, which supports children’s outdoor PA through dog walking and playing.
- ItemExamining the Influence of a New Light Rail Line on the Health of a Demographically Diverse and Understudied Population within the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area: A Protocol for a Natural Experiment Study(MDPI, 2018-02-13) Roberts, Jennifer D.; Hu, Ming; Saksvig, Brit Irene; Brachman, Micah L.; Durand, Casey P.Approximately two-thirds of adults and youth in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. are overweight or obese and less than half are achieving daily physical activity recommendations. Active transportation (AT), such as walking, biking or using public transportation (PT), is a strategic pathway to improving physical activity levels and thus reducing excess weight. Utilizing an expansion of the Washington, D.C. area transportation system with a new light rail line, the Purple Line Outcomes on Transportation (PLOT) Study will exam pre- and post-Purple Line PT use, AT behaviors and attitudes and physical activity among Prince George’s County adults and youth. The PLOT Study will take advantage of this natural experiment in an area enduring significant racial/ethnic and gender-based overweight or obesity and physical inactivity disparities. While similar natural experiments on AT have been conducted in other U.S. cities, those studies lacked diverse and representative samples. To effectively evaluate these physical activity outcomes among this population, efforts will be used to recruit African American and Latino populations, the first and second most common racial/ethnic groups in Prince George’s County. Finally, the PLOT Study will also examine how contextual effects (e.g., neighborhood built environment) impact PT, AT and physical activity.
- ItemBetween Privilege and Oppression: An Intersectional Analysis of Active Transportation Experiences Among Washington D.C. Area Youth(MDPI, 2019-04-12) Roberts, Jennifer D.; Mandic, Sandra; Fryer, Craig S.; Brachman, Micah L.; Ray, RashawnThe use of active transportation (AT), such as walking, cycling, or even public transit, as a means of transport offers an opportunity to increase youth physical activity and improve health. Despite the well-known benefits of AT, there are environmental and social variables that converge on the AT experiences of low-income youth and youth of color (YOC) that have yet to be fully uncovered. This study uses an intersectional framework, largely focusing on the race-gender-class trinity, to examine youth AT within a context of transportation inequity. Theoretically guided by the Ecological Model of Active Transportation, focus groups were completed with two groups of girls (15 participants) and two groups of boys (nine participants) ranging between the ages of 12–15 years who lived within the Washington D.C. area. This research found race, gender, and class to be inhibitors of AT for both boys and girls, but with more pronounced negative influences on girls.
- ItemThe Color of Health: Residential Segregation, Light Rail Transit Developments, and Gentrification in the United States(MDPI, 2019-09-30) Tehrani, Shadi O.; Wu, Shuling J.; Roberts, Jennifer D.As the modern urban–suburban context becomes increasingly problematic with traffic congestion, air pollution, and increased cost of living, city planners are turning their attention to transit-oriented development as a strategy to promote healthy communities. Transit-oriented developments bring valuable resources and improvements in infrastructure, but they also may be reinforcing decades-old processes of residential segregation, gentrification, and displacement of low-income residents and communities of color. Careful consideration of zoning, neighborhood design, and affordability is vital to mitigating the impacts of transit-induced gentrification, a socioeconomic by-product of transit-oriented development whereby the provision of transit service “upscales” nearby neighborhood(s) and displaces existing community members with more affluent and often White residents. To date, the available research and, thus, overall understanding of transit-induced gentrification and the related social determinants of health are limited and mixed. In this review, an overview of racial residential segregation, light rail transit developments, and gentrification in the United States has been provided. Implications for future transit-oriented developments are also presented along with a discussion of possible solutions.
- ItemEnvironments, Behaviors, and Inequalities: Reflecting on the Impacts of the Influenza and Coronavirus Pandemics in the United States(MDPI, 2020-06-22) Roberts, Jennifer D.; Tehrani, Shadi O.In the past century, dramatic shifts in demographics, globalization and urbanization have facilitated the rapid spread and transmission of infectious diseases across continents and countries. In a matter of weeks, the 2019 coronavirus pandemic devastated communities worldwide and reinforced the human perception of frailty and mortality. Even though the end of this pandemic story has yet to unfold, there is one parallel that is undeniable when a comparison is drawn between the 2019 coronavirus and the 1918 influenza pandemics. The public health response to disease outbreaks has remained nearly unchanged in the last 101 years. Furthermore, the role of environments and human behaviors on the effect and response to the coronavirus pandemic has brought to light many of the historic and contemporaneous inequalities and injustices that plague the United States. Through a reflection of these pandemic experiences, the American burden of disparity and disproportionality on morbidity, mortality and overall social determinants of health has been examined. Finally, a reimagination of a post-coronavirus existence has also been presented along with a discussion of possible solutions and considerations for moving forward to a new and better normal.