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Open AccessArticle

Changing Neighborhoods and Residents’ Health Perceptions: The Heart Healthy Hoods Qualitative Study

1
Social and Cardiovascular Epidemiology Research Group, School of Medicine, University of Alcalá, Alcalá de Henares, 28871 Madrid, Spain
2
Department of Sociology and Communication, University of Salamanca, 37007 Salamanca, Spain
3
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY 10027, USA
4
Department of Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1617; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15081617
Received: 4 June 2018 / Revised: 25 July 2018 / Accepted: 27 July 2018 / Published: 31 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Implementation Research in Chronic Disease Prevention and Control)
Cities, and therefore neighborhoods, are under constant change. Neighborhood changes may affect residents’ health in multiple ways. The Heart Healthy Hoods (HHH) project studies the association between neighborhood and residents’ health. Focusing on a middle–low-socioeconomic neighborhood in Madrid (Spain), our aim was to describe qualitatively its residents’ perceptions on the urban changes and their impacts on health. We designed a qualitative study using 16 semi-structured interviews including adult residents and professionals living or working in the area. Firstly, we described the perceived main social and neighborhood changes. Secondly, we studied how these neighborhood changes connected to residents’ health perceptions. Perceived major social changes were new demographic composition, new socio–cultural values and economic changes. Residents’ negative health perceptions were the reduction of social relationships, increase of stress and labor precariousness. Positive health perceptions were the creation of supportive links, assimilation of self-care activities and the change in traditional roles. Neighborhood changes yielded both negative and positive effects on residents’ health. These effects would be the result of the interrelation of different elements such as the existence or absence of social ties, family responsibilities, time availability, economic resources and access and awareness to health-promoting programs. These qualitative research results provide important insight into crafting urban health policies that may ultimately improve health outcomes in communities undergoing change. View Full-Text
Keywords: urban health; health perceptions; qualitative research; neighborhoods; social change; Spain urban health; health perceptions; qualitative research; neighborhoods; social change; Spain
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Conde, P.; Gutiérrez, M.; Sandín, M.; Díez, J.; Borrell, L.N.; Rivera-Navarro, J.; Franco, M. Changing Neighborhoods and Residents’ Health Perceptions: The Heart Healthy Hoods Qualitative Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1617.

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