Violent Crime, Physical Inactivity, and Obesity: Examining Spatial Relationships by Racial/Ethnic Composition of Community Residents

Chelsea R. Singleton, Fikriyah Winata, Kaustubh V. Parab, Oluwafikayo S. Adeyemi, Susan Aguiñaga

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Violence is a public health issue that disproportionately affects communities of color in urban centers. There is limited understanding of how violent crime is associated with adult physical inactivity and obesity prevalence given the racial/ethnic composition of community residents. This research aimed to address this gap by examining census tract-level data in Chicago, IL. Ecological data gathered from a variety of sources were analyzed in 2020. Violent crime rate represented the number of police-reported incidents of homicide, aggravated assault, and armed robbery per 1,000 residents. Spatial error and ordinary least square regression models were evaluated to determine if violent crime rate was significant associated with prevalence (%) of adult physical inactivity and obesity among all Chicago census tracts (N = 798), majority non-Hispanic (NH) White tracts (n = 240), majority NH Black tracts (n = 280), majority Hispanic tracts (n = 169), and racially diverse tracts (n = 109). Majority was defined as ≥ 50% representation. After adjusting for socioeconomic and environmental measures (e.g., median income, grocery store availability, walkability index), violent crime rate was associated with % physical inactivity and % obesity at the census tract level in Chicago, IL (both p < 0.001). Associations were statistically significant among majority NH Black and Hispanic tracts, but not majority NH White and racially diverse tracts. Future studies should evaluate the structural drivers of violence and the influence these drivers have on adult physical inactivity and obesity risk, particularly in communities of color.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-289
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023


  • Built environment
  • Chicago
  • Crime
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity
  • Spatial analysis
  • Violence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Urban Studies


Dive into the research topics of 'Violent Crime, Physical Inactivity, and Obesity: Examining Spatial Relationships by Racial/Ethnic Composition of Community Residents'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this