The role of subjective and objective indicators of neighbourhood safety on children’s physical activity level

Abstract

The current study aimed to investigate the association of neighbourhood safety in three levels with children’s physical activity. These levels include parental perception and children’s perception as subjective measurements and reported rates of crime and traffic as objective measurements. 1421 questionnaires were distributed in primary schools among eligible children and their parents in Bandar Abbas city, Iran. Boys were more active than girls, but the level of physical activity in children was generally low. Parents were more concerned about neighbourhood safety compared with their children. Both subjective and objective measurements of safety contributed with children’s physical activity. Policymakers and designers should develop environments where both parents and children perceive as having sufficient levels of safety and consider interventions for reducing crime and traffic rates so as to increase children’s physical activity.

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Correspondence to Zeinab Aliyas.

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The autonomy of the participants was fully respected and written information including the purpose of the study, use and application of the study, assurance of their right to refuse, and the security of personal information was provided to each participant. All adult participants signed a consent form to participate in this study. Prior to commencing data collection, ethical clearance was applied for and approved by the deputy research directorate of Islamic Azad University, Bandar Abbas Branch in Iran.

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Appendix: List of questionnaire items measuring perceived neighbourhood safety

Appendix: List of questionnaire items measuring perceived neighbourhood safety

A Personal safety
B Children questions
It is safe to walk or play alone in my neighbourhood during the day
It is safe to walk or play alone in my neighbourhood during the night
I feel safe in my neighbourhood
Parents questions
It is safe to walk alone in my neighbourhood during the day
It is safe to walk alone in my neighbourhood after dark
I feel safe in my neighbourhood
Traffic safety
Children/parents questions
There is so much traffic that it makes it hard to walk in my neighbourhood
Most drivers go too fast while driving in my neighbourhood
The road outside or nearest my home is full of parked cars
Social safety
Parents questions
How much of a problem to you are any of the following in your neighbourhood?
(1) beggars and addicts, (2) groups causing trouble, (3) Reckless neighbours
Physical safety
Parents questions
How much of a problem to you are any of the following in your neighbourhood?
(1) abandoned buildings, (2) scary dogs, (3) rubbish and litters
Safe to play
Parents questions
I can count on adults in this neighbourhood to watch out that children are safe and do not get in trouble
Children around here have no place to play but the street
The equipment and buildings in the park or playground that is closest to where I live are well kept
The park or playground closest to where I live is safe during the day
The park or playground closest to where I live is safe at night

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Aliyas, Z. The role of subjective and objective indicators of neighbourhood safety on children’s physical activity level. Secur J (2021). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41284-020-00278-8

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Keywords

  • Child
  • Parent
  • Safety
  • Neighbourhood
  • Physical activity