IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Walking, exercising, and smoking: does neighborhood matter?


  • Ross, Catherine E.


Neighborhood context could affect health behaviors because of structure or contagion. We expected that residents of US neighborhoods where a high percentage of residents are poor and do not have college degrees would be more likely to smoke and less likely to walk and exercise. We examined the hypotheses using multi-level data in which survey information from a representative sample of Illinois residents is linked to census-tract information about poverty and education in their neighborhood. Contrary to expectations we found that residents of poor neighborhoods were more likely to walk than those in less disadvantaged places, adjusting for individual poverty, household income, education, race, ethnicity, sex, age, and marital status. This was the case despite the fact that residents of poor neighborhoods were more afraid to leave the house and feared being victimized on the streets. Consistent with expectations we found that residents of neighborhoods where a high percentage of residents are college educated are more likely to walk. Thus, the two aspects of neighborhood socioeconomic status had opposite effects on walking. Neighborhood context had no effect on the likelihood of exercising strenuously. Men in poor neighborhoods were more likely to smoke than those in less disadvantaged places, but neighborhood context had no significant effect on women's likelihood of smoking.

Suggested Citation

  • Ross, Catherine E., 2000. "Walking, exercising, and smoking: does neighborhood matter?," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 51(2), pages 265-274, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:2:p:265-274

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:socmed:v:51:y:2000:i:2:p:265-274. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.