Publication Details

Astell-Burt, T., Feng, X., Kolt, G. S. & Jalaludin, B. (2016). Is more area-level crime associated with more sitting and less physical activity? Longitudinal evidence from 37,162 Australians. American Journal of Epidemiology, 184 (12), 913-921.


Does a rise in crime result in increased sitting time and a reduction in physical activity? We used unobserved (“fixed”)-effects models to examine associations between change in objectively measured crime (nondomestic violence, malicious damage, breaking and entering, and stealing, theft, and robbery) in Australia and measures of sitting time, walking, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in a residentially stable sample of 17,474 men and 19,688 women at baseline (2006–2008) and follow-up (2009–2010). Possible sources of time-varying confounding included age, income, economic status, relationship (couple) status, and physical functioning. In adjusted models, an increase in all crimes of 10 counts per 1,000 residents was associated with an increase in sitting time (hours/day) among men (β = 0.21, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.17, 0.25) and women (β = 0.18, 95% CI: 0.15, 0.22). Counterintuitively, the same increase in crime was also associated with an increase in the weekly number of ≥10-minute walking sessions (men: rate ratio (RR) = 1.01 (95% CI: 1.01, 1.02); women: RR = 1.00 (95% CI: 0.99, 1.01)) and MVPA sessions (men: RR = 1.02 (95% CI: 1.02, 1.03); women: RR = 1.01 (95% CI: 1.00, 1.02)). Similar associations were found for the other area-level crime indicators. While area-level crime prevention may be considered a lever for promoting more active lifestyles, these results suggest that the association is not unequivocal.



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