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BMC Public Health


Background: Disadvantaged neighborhood environments are a source of chronic stress which undermines optimal adolescent health. This study investigated relationships between the neighborhood social environment, specifically, chronic stress exposures, adiposity, and cardiometabolic disease risk factors among 288 Louisiana adolescents aged 10 to 16 years. Methods: This cross-sectional study utilized baseline data from the Translational Investigation of Growth and Everyday Routines in Kids (TIGER Kids) study. Adolescent data were obtained using self-reported questionnaires (demographics and perceived neighborhood disorder), anthropometry, body imaging, and a blood draw while objective neighborhood data for the concentrated disadvantage index were acquired from the 2016 American Community Survey five-year block group estimates, 2012–2016. Multilevel linear regression models were used to examine whether neighborhood concentrated disadvantage index and perceived neighborhood disorder were associated with body mass index, waist circumference, body fat, adipose tissue, blood pressure, and lipids. We performed multilevel logistic regression to determine the odds of elevated adiposity and cardiometabolic disease risk for adolescents living in neighborhoods with varying levels of neighborhood concentrated disadvantage and disorder. Results: Adolescents living in neighborhoods with higher disadvantage or disorder had greater waist circumference and total percent body fat compared to those in less disadvantaged and disordered neighborhoods (p for trend < 0.05). Neighborhood disadvantage was also positively associated with percentage of the 95th Body Mass Index percentile and visceral abdominal adipose tissue mass while greater perceived neighborhood disorder was related to higher trunk fat mass and diastolic blood pressure (p for trend < 0.05). Living in the most disadvantaged was associated with greater odds of obesity (OR: 2.9, 95% CI:1.3, 6.5) and being in the top tertile of body fat mass (OR: 3.0, 95% CI: 1.4, 6.6). Similar results were found with neighborhood disorder for odds of obesity (OR: 2.1, 95% CI:1.1, 4.2) and top tertile of body fat mass (OR: 2.1, 95% CI:1.04, 4.1). Conclusions: Neighborhood social environment measures of chronic stress exposure were associated with excess adiposity during adolescence, and relationships were most consistently identified among adolescents living in the most disadvantaged and disordered neighborhoods. Future studies should account for the influences of the neighborhood environment to stimulate equitable improvements in adolescent health. Clinical Trials Registration: # NCT02784509.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.