The relationship between height and neighborhood context across racial/ethnic groups: A multi-level analysis of the 1999–2004 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
While a growing literature has documented a link between neighborhood context and health outcomes, little is known about the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and height. Using individual data from the 1999-2004 U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey merged with tract-level data from the U.S. Census, we investigate several neighborhood characteristics, including neighborhood socioeconomic status (NSES), education index of concentration at the extremes (ICE), and population density, as potential predictors of height. Employing a series of two-level random intercept models, we find a one standard deviation increase in NSES to be associated with a 0.6–1.4cm height advantage for white and foreign-born Mexican-American females and for U.S. born Mexican-American males, net of individual-level controls. Similarly, a 10 point increase in neighborhood education ICE was associated with 0.23–0.32cm greater height for white and foreign-born Mexican-American females and U.S. born Mexican-American males. Population density was nominally negatively associated with height for foreign-born Mexican-American females. Our findings reveal that lower physical stature for some ethnic and gender groups is clustered within neighborhoods of low SES and education, suggesting that contextual factors may play a role in influencing height above individual-level attributes.
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