Simulating the Impact of Crime on African American Women's Physical Activity and Obesity.


An agent-based model was developed in 2016 to represent resource-limited Washington, DC, communities and their populations to simulate the impact of crime on LTPA and obesity among African American women under different circumstances.

Data analysis conducted between 2016 and 2017 found that in the baseline scenario, African American women had a 25% probability of exercising. Reducing crime so more physical activity locations were accessible (increasing from 10% to 50%) decreased the annual rise in obesity prevalence by 2.69%. Increasing the probability of African American women to exercise to 37.5% further increased the impact of reducing crime on obesity (2.91% annual decrease in obesity prevalence).

These simulations showed that crime may serve as a barrier to LTPA. Reducing crime and increasing propensity to exercise through multilevel interventions (i.e., economic development initiatives to increase time available for physical activity and subsidized health care) may promote greater than linear declines in obesity prevalence. Crime prevention strategies alone can help prevent obesity, but combining such efforts with other ways to encourage physical activity can yield even greater benefits.

The objective of this study was to quantify the impact of crime on physical activity location accessibility, leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), and obesity among African American women.

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