Urban Natural Environments, Obesity, and Health-Related Quality of Life among Hispanic Children Living in Inner-City Neighborhoods.Int J Environ Res Public Health 2016; 13(1)IJ
Although a substantial body of literature has provided evidence supporting the positive effects of natural environments on well-being, little has been known about the specific spatial patterns of urban nature in promoting health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among children. This study assessed the association that the urban natural environment measured by landscape spatial patterns may have with obesity and HRQOL among Hispanic children. Ninety-two 4th and 5th grade students were recruited from Houston, Texas, and the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL) was used to capture the children's HRQOL. The quality of urban natural environments was assessed by quantifying the landscape spatial patterns, using landscape indices generated by Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing. From the bivariate analyses, children's body mass index showed a significantly negative association with their HRQOL. After controlling for socio-demographic factors, the results revealed that larger and more tree areas were positively correlated with children's HRQOL. In addition, those children living in areas with tree patches further apart from each other showed higher HRQOL. This research adds to the current multi-disciplinary area of research on environment-health relationships by investigating the roles of urban greeneries and linking their spatial structures with children's HRQOL.