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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2012, Article ID 589409, 11 pages
Research Article

Associations between Resident Perceptions of the Local Residential Environment and Metabolic Syndrome

1Social Epidemiology and Evaluation Research Group, Sansom Institute for Health Research and School of Health Sciences, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
2Research Centre, Douglas Mental Health University Institute, Montreal, QC, Canada H4H 1R2
3Discipline of Geography, Environment and Population, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
4Population Research and Outcome Studies, Discipline of Medicine, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia
5The Health Observatory, The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Campus, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5011, Australia
6Department of Medicine, St Vincent’s Hospital, The University of Melbourne, Fitzroy, VIC 3065, Australia

Received 30 April 2012; Accepted 14 August 2012

Academic Editor: Mahfuzar Rahman

Copyright © 2012 Katherine Baldock et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A substantial body of research has arisen concerning the relationships between objective residential area features, particularly area-level socioeconomic status and cardiometabolic outcomes. Little research has explored residents’ perceptions of such features and how these might relate to cardiometabolic outcomes. Perceptions of environments are influenced by individual and societal factors, and may not correspond to objective reality. Understanding relations between environmental perceptions and health is important for the development of environment interventions. This study evaluated associations between perceptions of local built and social environmental attributes and metabolic syndrome, and tested whether walking behaviour mediated these associations. Individual-level data were drawn from a population-based biomedical cohort study of adults in Adelaide, South Australia (North West Adelaide Health Study). Participants’ local-area perceptions were analysed in cross-sectional associations with metabolic syndrome using multilevel regression models ( ). A nonparametric bootstrapping procedure evaluated whether walking mediated these associations. Metabolic syndrome was negatively associated with greater local land-use mix, positive aesthetics, and greater infrastructure for walking, and was positively associated with greater perceived crime and barriers to walking. Walking partially mediated associations between metabolic syndrome and perceived environmental features. Initiatives targeting residents’ perceptions of local areas may enhance the utility of environmental interventions to improve population health.