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Journal Article


Wee LE, Tsang YYT, Tay SM, Cheah A, Puhaindran M, Yee J, Lee S, Oen K, Koh CHG. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019; 16(8): e16081384.


Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore, National University Health System, Singapore 117549, Singapore.


(Copyright © 2019, MDPI: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute)






Background: In Singapore, an Asian city-state, more than 80% live in public housing. While the majority (90%) own their homes, a needy minority lives in rental flats. Public rental flats are built in the same location as owner-occupied blocks. We evaluated factors associated with perceptions of the neighborhood environment and its association with exercise and health screening participation. Methods: Logistic regression was used to identify associations between perceptions of the neighborhood environment (overall perceived neighborhood disadvantage, safety, and convenience) and sociodemographic factors, as well as exercise and screening participation, amongst residents aged ≥60 years in two Singaporean public housing precincts in 2016. Results: Our response rate was 62.1% (528/800). Staying in a rental flat independently was associated with increased neighborhood disadvantage (adjusted odds ratio, aOR = 1.58, 95%CI = 1.06⁻2.35). Staying in a stand-alone block (as opposed to staying in a mixed block comprised of both rental and owner-occupied units) was associated with perceptions of a poorer physical environment (aOR = 1.81, 95%CI = 1.22⁻2.68) and lower perceived proximity to recreational areas (aOR = 1.14, 95%CI = 1.04⁻1.25). Perceptions of neighborhood disadvantage were independently associated with reduced exercise participation (aOR = 0.67, 95%CI = 0.45⁻0.98) and reduced participation in diabetes screening (aOR = 0.63, 95%CI = 0.41⁻0.95). Conclusion: Despite sharing the same built environment, differences in the perception of the neighborhood environment between low-socioeconomic status (SES) and high-SES communities persist. Perceived neighborhood disadvantage is associated with lower participation in regular exercise and diabetes screening.

Language: en


Asian; health behaviors; neighborhood environment; public housing


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