Mediating role of energy-balance related behaviors in the association of neighborhood socio-economic status and residential area density with BMI: The SPOTLIGHT study

Sofie Compernolle, Jean Michel Oppert, Joreintje D. Mackenbach, Jeroen Lakerveld, Helene Charreire, Ketevan Glonti, Helga Bardos, Harry Rutter, Katrien De Cocker, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This study aimed to examine the mediating effects of energy-balance related behaviors on the association of neighborhood socio-economic status (SES) and neighborhood residential area density (RAD) with body mass index (BMI). Methods: In total, 6037 adults from four neighborhood types (high SES/high RAD, high SES/low RAD, low SES/high RAD, and low SES/low RAD) in five Mid-European urban regions completed an online survey asking about their energy-balance related behaviors (physical activity [PA], sedentary behavior, and dietary behavior), determinants of these behaviors and their body weight and height. MacKinnon's product-of-coefficients test was used to assess mediating effects. Results: Transport-related PA, leisure-time PA and vegetable intake seemed to mediate the association between neighborhood type and BMI. Residents from low SES/low RAD neighborhoods reported less transport-related PA, less leisure-time PA and less vegetable intake than high SES/high RAD residents, and these behaviors (i.e. transport-related PA, leisure-time PA and vegetable intake) were related to having a higher BMI. Conclusion: The association between neighborhood type and BMI can be explained, at least in part, by energy-balance related behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)84-91
Number of pages8
JournalPreventive Medicine
Early online date12 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Obesity-related behaviors
  • Overweight
  • Residential density
  • Socio-economic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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