The association between adverse childhood experiences, neighborhood greenspace, and body mass index: A cross-sectional study

Krista Schroeder, Christine M. Forke, Jennie G. Noll, David C. Wheeler, Kevin A. Henry, David B. Sarwer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An association between adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and elevated body mass index (BMI) has been found in previous investigations. ACEs’ effects on BMI have been primarily considered via individual-level physiological and behavioral frameworks. Neighborhood factors, such as greenspace, are also associated with BMI and may merit consideration in studies examining ACEs-BMI associations. This exploratory study examined associations of BMI with ACEs and neighborhood greenspace and tested whether greenspace moderated ACEs-BMI associations. Methods entailed secondary analysis of cross-sectional data. ACEs and BMI were captured from 2012/2013 Philadelphia ACE Survey and 2012 Southeastern Household Heath Survey data; greenspace percentage in participants’ (n = 1,679 adults) home neighborhoods was calculated using National Land Cover Database data. Multi-level, multivariable linear regression 1) examined associations between BMI, ACEs, (0 ACEs [reference], 1–3 ACEs, 4 + ACEs), and neighborhood greenspace levels (high [reference], medium, low) and 2) tested whether greenspace moderated the ACEs-BMI association (assessed via additive interaction) before and after controlling for sociodemographic and health-related covariates. Experiencing 4 + ACEs (β = 1.21; 95 %CI: 0.26, 2.15; p = 0.01), low neighborhood greenspace (β = 1.51; 95 %CI: 0.67, 2.35; p < 0.01), and medium neighborhood greenspace (β = 1.37; 95 %CI: 0.52, 2.21; p < 0.01) were associated with BMI in unadjusted models. Only low neighborhood greenspace was associated with BMI (β = 0.95; 95 %CI: 0.14, 1.75; p = 0.02) in covariate-adjusted models. The ACEs-greenspace interaction was not significant in unadjusted (p = 0.89–0.99) or covariate-adjusted (p = 0.46–0.79) models. In conclusion, when considered simultaneously, low neighborhood greenspace, but not ACEs, was associated with BMI among urban-dwelling adults in covariate-adjusted models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101915
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
StatePublished - Oct 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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