UMDNJ School of Public Health
Dr. Sandra E. Echeverria is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ) School of Public Health. One of her areas of research includes the examination of neighborhood and built environment features shaping cardiovascular risk factors, such as physical activity, among both adults and children. She is also examining differences in neighborhood-health associations by nativity status, and whether perceived or objective measures of the living environment jointly shape health.
Latino children have a high prevalence of overweight and obesity and have lower levels of physical activity and physical fitness than White children. There is also increasing evidence to suggest distinct obesity patterns by nativity status, with the foreign born generally showing lower levels of obesity than the US-born. Few studies, however, have examined potential differences in childrens physical activity by parental nativity status. The proposed study investigates the role of parental nativity status and social and built environment determinants of physical activity among Latino children 3-18 years of age. The study uses data from a random, representative survey of families in five cities in the state of New Jersey: Camden, Newark, New Brunswick, Trenton, and Vineland. The survey sample is representative of key racial/ ethnic groups in each city and includes data from an adult respondent who reported on one randomly selected child per household. The final sample includes 1,708 participants, 683 of which are Latinos. The study examines potential disparities between US vs. foreign-born parents on Latinos childrens active transport to school, use of local neighborhood parks, use of neighborhood activity resources, and use of sidewalks to walk, run, bike, or play, and whether observed differences remain after adjusting for parental neighborhood perceptions and objective neighborhood determinants (e.g., neighborhood walkability, access to recreational resources, geographic proximity to parks, and neighborhood socioeconomic condition). This study will identify important environmental and policy features for improving physical activity among Latino children of parents with differing nativity status.
My New Connections Experience
I applied to New Connections because of the unique opportunity it provides us as junior investigators to engage in meaningful health disparities research, and to form part of a network of other scholars committed to this kind of work.
The award provided an almost immediate sense of legitimacy to my area of research, and my potential to secure future funding to establish an active research agenda.
Dr. Echeverrias research examines the social determinants of health generally, and more specifically the role of neighborhood contexts and immigrant status patterning cardiovascular risk factors in racial/ ethnic minority populations. She is also interested in exploring how to measure changes in social conditions and their short and long-term impact on the publics health.
- New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
- Award Year: 2011, Active Living Research
- RWJF Team/Portfolio: Childhood Obesity
- Project Name: Parental and built environment determinants of physical activity in Latino children.