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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2015, Article ID 194838, 8 pages
Research Article

Green Space and Child Weight Status: Does Outcome Measurement Matter? Evidence from an Australian Longitudinal Study

1School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
2School of Health and Society, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2722, Australia
3Menzies Centre for Health Policy, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
4Boden Institute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise and Eating Disorders, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
5Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University, Strathfield, NSW 2135, Australia
6School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St Andrews, North Street, St Andrews KY16 9AL, UK

Received 27 May 2015; Revised 13 August 2015; Accepted 20 August 2015

Academic Editor: Terry Huang

Copyright © 2015 Taren Sanders 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.


Objective. To examine whether neighbourhood green space is beneficially associated with (i) waist circumference (WC) and (ii) waist-to-height ratio (WtHR) across childhood. Methods. Gender-stratified multilevel linear regressions were used to examine associations between green space and objective measures of weight status in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, a nationally representative source of data on 4,423 children aged 6 y to 13 y. WC and WtHR were measured objectively. Percentage green space within the local area of residence was calculated. Effect modification by age was explored, adjusting for socioeconomic confounding. Results. Compared to peers with 0–5% green space locally, boys and girls with >40% green space tended to have lower WC (  −1.15, 95% CI −2.44, 0.14;   −0.21, 95% CI −1.47, 1.05) and WtHR (  −0.82, 95% CI −1.65, 0.01;   −0.32, 95% CI −1.13, 0.49). Associations among boys were contingent upon age (  ) and robust to adjustment for socioeconomic variables. The benefits of greener neighbourhoods appeared from age 7, with mean WC and WtHR for boys aged 13 y with >40% green space at 73.85 cm and 45.75% compared to those with 0–5% green space at 75.18 cm and 46.62%, respectively. Conclusions. Greener neighbourhoods appear beneficial to alternative child weight status measures, particularly among boys.