Introduction to the Active Living Research Reference List 2007


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James F. Sallis, Ph.D., Director

Carmen L. Cutter, MPH, Deputy Director
Introduction to the Active Living Research Reference List 2007
The following pages are citations of studies of the relationships between the environment, physical activity, and obesity published in 2007.  We have organized the publications into 6 categories to make them easier to review. The categories are:

  • Built Environment and Policy – Physical Activity,

  • Built Environment and Policy – Obesity,

  • Social, Cultural & Family Environments – Physical Activity and Obesity,

  • Measurement

  • Community Based Interventions – Physical Activity and Obesity,

  • Childhood Obesity – General

The searches were conducted with several databases and were designed to represent the multiple disciplines in Active Living Research. The number of citations continues to grow. This year there were over 200 in the Built Environment and Policy – Physical Activity category alone. Some citations do not include a journal issue or page numbers; these are articles that are available online ahead of print publication.

We have improved upon our search terms and hope that this list is inclusive. Please send us relevant citations we have missed. Studies that focus on food environments will be covered by the RWJF Healthy Eating Research program.

We will continue to publish twice yearly literature updates as the literature is expanding so rapidly. The abstracts for the current 2007 update and the 2004-2006 abstracts can be found at:
Papers that specifically report environmental correlates of physical activity behavior or obesity will be included in the online ALR literature database (
If you have questions or comments please contact Chad Spoon at
Jacqueline Kerr, PhD, Ashley Withers & The Active Living Research Staff

2007 Search Terms

Physical Activity/Obesity terms (abstract only)

Environment terms (title or abstract)

non motorized OR NMT OR multimodal transportation OR active transport* OR driving OR active living OR inactivity OR inactive OR fit OR fitness OR body mass index OR BMI OR car OR cars OR automobile OR leisure OR television OR TV OR obese OR obesity OR weight OR overweight OR journey OR travel* OR walk OR walking OR cycle OR cycling OR bike OR bikers OR biking OR bicycle OR bicycling OR sedentary OR commuter* OR commuting OR exercise OR exercising OR exerciser* OR physical activity OR physically active OR play OR playground* OR playing OR vehicle OR obesogenic

environment OR environments OR environmental OR sprawl OR neighbourhood* OR neighborhood* OR recreation* OR metropolitan OR rural OR urban* OR pedestrian OR pedestrians OR equipment OR geograph* OR aesthet* OR convenient OR convenience OR urban form OR destination* OR trail OR trails OR park OR parks OR path OR paths OR distance* OR density OR access* OR planning OR location* OR feature* OR polic* OR facility OR facilities OR crime OR architecture OR building* OR transit OR street* OR stair* OR playground OR playgrounds OR urban design OR neighborhood development OR neighbourhood development OR smart growth OR outdoor OR indoor OR connectivity OR new urbanism OR healthy places OR healthy communities OR greenway OR greenways OR rail-trail OR home OR school OR schools OR land use OR safe OR safety OR route OR routes OR workplace OR community OR communities OR attractive* OR green space* OR public space* OR open space* OR place OR places OR site OR sites OR siting OR greenery OR amenity OR amenities OR attribute* OR walkable OR walkability OR residential OR residence OR sidewalks OR availability

Databases used in the literature searches included Pub Med, ISI Web of Science, Leisure and Recreation Journals and other non-indexed journals.

For more specific information please contact Chad Spoon at
Journal Counts:

These may indicate journals more interested in built environment research where you could send your manuscripts

Aaohn Journal- 3

Acta Paediatrica- 8

Aging & Society- 1

Ambul Pediatrics- 1

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition- 2

American Journal of Epidemiology- 11

American Journal of Health Behavior- 6

American Journal of Health Promotion- 20

American Journal of Human Biology- 4

American Journal of Preventive Medicine- 31

American Journal of Public Health- 14

American Psychologist- 1

Annals of Behavioral Medicine- 5

Annals of Human Biology- 1

Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism- 2

Annals of Regional Science- 1

Appetite- 3

Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism- 2

Archives of Disease in Childhood- 3

Archives of Internal Medicine- 1

Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine- 6

Archives of Pediatrics- 1

Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition- 3

Atherosclerosis- 1

Australian Family Physician- 1

Australian and New Zealand Health Policy- 1

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health- 3

Australian Journal of Political Science- 1

Biomedical Environmental Science- 1

BMC Health Services Research- 1

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders- 1

BMC Pediatrics- 1

BMC Public Health- 10

Breastfeeding Review- 1

British Journal of Nutrition- 1

British Journal of Sports Medicine- 4

British Medical Journal- 3

Building and Environment- 1

Canadian Family Physician- 1

Canadian Journal of Dietetic Practice and Research- 1

Canadian Journal of Public Health- 6

Central European Journal of Public Health- 2

Child Care Health Development- 3

Circulation- 4

Clinical Pediatrics (Phila)- 3

Clinical Pharmacology and Thereuptics- 1

Collegium Antropologicum- 2

Community Practice- 1

Computer Informational Nursing- 1

Conf Proc IEEE English Medical Biological Society- 2

Contemporary Clinical Trials- 2

Contemporary Economic Policy- 2

Critical Care Nurse- 1

Critical Social Policy- 1

Current Opinion in Pediatrics- 1

Dance Magazine- 1

Diabetes- 6

Diabetes Care- 1

Diabetes Education- 2

Diabetes Medicine- 1

Diabetes and Vascular Disease Research- 1

Down Syndrome Research Practice- 1

Duke Law Journal- 1

Eating Behaviors- 1

Eating Disorders- 1

Economics and Human Biology- 3

Environment and Behavior- 6

Environment and Planning A- 1

Epidemiologic Perspective and Innovation- 1

Epidemiologic Reviews- 3

Ethnicity and Disease- 2

European Journal of Cardiovascular Prevention and Rehabilitation- 1

European Journal of Clinical Nutrition- 5

European Journal of Public Health- 8

European Physical Education Review- 2

Evaluation and Program Planning- 1

Family Community Health- 2

Family Practice- 1

Faseb Journal- 9

Food and Nutrition Bulletin- 1

Future Lipidology- 1

Gastroenterology- 1

Gerontologist- 1

Gesundheitswesen- 1

Health Affairs (Millford)- 3

Health and Place- 16

Health Education and Behavior- 2

Health Education Research- 6

Health Promotion International- 1

Health Promotion Journal of Australia- 3

Health Promotion Practice- 5

Health Psychology- 5

Health Technology Assessment- 1

Homo- Journal of Comparative Human Biology- 2

Housing Policy Debate- 1

International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health- 3

International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity- 20

International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology- 1

International Journal of Circumpolar Health- 1

International Journal of Eating Disorders- 1

International Journal of Epidemiology- 1

International Journal of Health Geography- 1

International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health- 1

International Journal of Obesity- 34

International Journal of Pediatric Obesity- 10

International Review of Research in Mental Retardation- 1

Japanese Journal of Physical Fitness and Sports Medicine- 1


Journal of Adolescent Health- 1

Journal of Aging and Heath- 1

Journal of Aging and Physical Activity- 6

Journal of American College Health- 2

Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis- 1

Journal of Architectural and Planning Research- 1

Journal of Behavioral Medicine- 2

Journal of Biosocial Science- 1

Journal of Bone and Mineral Research- 1

Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention- 1

Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing- 2

Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry- 1

Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism- 2

Journal of Community Health Nursing- 1

Journal of Community Psychology- 1

Journal of Environmental Planning and Management- 1

Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health- 8

Journal of Evaluation of Clinical Practice- 1

Journal of General Internal Medicine- 4

Journal of Health Communication- 1

Journal of Health Economics- 1

Journal of Historical Sociology- 1

Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics- 1

Journal of Interprofessional Care- 1

Journal of Law and Medicine Ethics- 7

Journal of Nutrition- 2

Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior- 5

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health- 4

Journal of Park and Recreation Administration- 1

Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology and Metabolism- 2

Journal of Pediatric Psychology- 1

Journal of Pediatrics- 1

Journal of Physical Activity and Health- 19

Journal of Physiological Anthropology- 1

Journal of Planning Education and Research- 1

Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology- 1

Journal of Public Health- 7

Journal of Public Policy and Marketing- 1

Journal of Regional Science- 1

Journal of School Health- 7

Journal of School Nursing- 4

Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport- 5

Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology- 4

Journal of Sports Science and Medicine- 1

Journal of Teaching in Physical Education- 2

Journal of the American College of Cardiology- 1

Journal of the American College of Nutrition- 3

Journal of the American Dietetic Association- 8

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society- 3

Journal of the American Medical Association- 1

Journal of the National Medical Association- 1

Journal of the Royal Society of Architectural Historians- 1

Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine- 1

Journal of Transcultural Nursing- 1

Journal of Transport Geography- 1

Journal of Transportation and Engineering- Asce- 1

Journal of Urban Health- 1

Journal of Urban Health-Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine- 3

Journal of Urban Planning and Development- 1

Journal of Women and Aging- 1

Journal of Women’s Health- 1

Landscape Architecture- 1

Leisure Sciences- 2

Leisure Studies- 1

Mayo Clinic Proceedings- 1

Medical Journal of Australia- 2

Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise- 7

Medicine and Sport Science- 1

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report- 1

New Directions for Youth Development- 1

New Zealand Medical Journal- 2

North Carolina Medical Journal- 1

NSW Public Health Bulletin- 4

Nutrition Journal- 2

Obesity- 24

Obesity Reviews- 20

Occupational Therapy International- 1

Patient Education and Counseling- 1

Pediatric Diabetes- 1

Pediatric Emergency Care- 1

Pediatric Exercise Science- 6

Pediatric Nursing- 2

Pediatric Research- 1

Pediatrics- 3

Pediatrics in Review- 1

Perceptual and Motor Skills-3

Pharmacy World and Science- 1

Physiology & Behavior- 6

Plos Medicine- 1

Policy brief (UCLA Center for Health Policy Research)- 1

Preventing Chronic Disease- 10

Preventive Medicine- 27

Proceedings of the Institute of Civil Engineers- Municipal Engineer- 1

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society- 1

Psychology Bulletin- 1

Psychological Report- 1

Psychology of Sport and Exercise- 1

Public Health- 5

Public Health Nutrition- 10

Quest- 1

Rehabilitation Nursing- 1

Research Quarterly For Exercise and Sport- 9

Review of Agricultural Economics- 1

Scandanavian Journal of Public Health- 1

Science of the Total Environment- 1

Science and Sports- 1

Sex Roles- 1

Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography- 1

Social Science and Medicine- 13

South African Medical Journal- 2

Southern Economic Journal- 1

Southern Medical Journal- 1

Sports and Leisure Management- 1

Sports Medicine- 1

Transport Reviews- 1

Transportation- 7

Transportation Planning and Technology- 1

Transportation Research Part A-Policy and Practice- 6

Transportation Research Part D-Transport and Environment- 3

Transportation Research Record- 3

Trans R Soc Tropical Medicine and Hygiene- 1

Urban Studies- 5

Western Journal of Nursing Research- 1

Wisconsin Law Review- 1

World Development- 1


M. J. Aarts, J. Schuit, I. V. de Goor and O. H van. (2007). Opportunities for intersectoral health policy to stimulate physical activity in children. European Journal Of Public Health.

C. G. Abildso, S. Zizzi, L. C. Abildso, J. C. Steele and P. M. Gordon. (2007). Built environment and psychosocial factors associated with trail proximity and use. American Journal of Health Behavior.

OBJECTIVES: To explore the relationships among neighborhood built environment characteristics, psychosocial factors, perceived and objective proximity assessments, and use of a community rail-trail. METHOD: Telephone survey data of adults (n=788) in Morgantown, WVa, were classified into one of 4 distance-perception categories based on actual (using geographic information systems technology) and perceived proximity of a community rail-trail. RESULTS: Differences in psychosocial barriers to physical activity (P=.037) and perceived neighborhood walkability (P<.001) were associated with perceived proximity to and use of a community trail. CONCLUSION: Specific attention should be given to address neighborhood and psychosocial barriers when constructing and promoting community trails.

Y. Ahamed, H. Macdonald, K. Reed, P. J. Naylor, T. Liu-Ambrose and H. McKay. (2007). School-based physical activity does not compromise children's academic performance. Medicine And Science In Sports And Exercise.

PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was twofold: 1) to evaluate the effectiveness of a school-based physical activity intervention, Action Schools! BC (AS! BC), for maintaining academic performance in a multiethnic group of elementary children, and 2) to determine whether boys and girls' academic performance changed similarly after participation in AS! BC. METHODS: This was a 16-month cluster randomized controlled trial. Ten schools were randomized to intervention (INT) or usual practice (UP). One INT school administered the wrong final test, and one UP school graded their own test, so both were excluded. Thus, eight schools (six INT, two UP) were included in the final analysis. Children (143 boys, 144 girls) in grades 4 and 5 were recruited for the study. We used the Canadian Achievement Test (CAT-3) to evaluate academic performance (TotScore). Weekly teacher activity logs determined amounts of physical activity delivered by teachers to students. Physical activity was determined with the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Children (PAQ-C). Independent t-tests compared descriptive variables between groups and between boys and girls. We used a mixed linear model to evaluate differences in TotScore at follow-up between groups and between girls and boys. RESULTS: Physical activity delivered by teachers to children in INT schools was increased by 47 min x wk(-1) (139 +/- 62 vs 92 +/- 45, P < 0.001). Participants attending UP schools had significantly higher baseline TotScores than those attending INT schools. Despite this, there was no significant difference in TotScore between groups at follow-up and between boys and girls at baseline and follow-up. CONCLUSION: The AS! BC model is an attractive and feasible intervention to increase physical activity for students while maintaining levels of academic performance.

K. N. Ahlport, L. Linnan, A. Vaughn, K. R. Evenson and D. S. Ward. (2007). Barriers to and Facilitators of Walking and Bicycling to School: Formative Results From the Non-Motorized Travel Study. Health Education & Behavior.

Barriers to and facilitators of walking and bicycling to school were explored through 12 focus groups made up of fourth- and fifth-grade students and their parents who lived near their respective schools. The barriers and facilitators reported by parents and children generally fell into one of three categories: intrapersonal and interpersonal characteristics of parents and children, environmental characteristics of the neighborhood, and environmental and policy characteristics of the school. Findings indicate that a supportive environment is a necessary but insufficient condition to increase walking and biking to school. Initiatives to increase active school travel may need to include multiple levels of intervention to be effective.

B. E. Ainsworth, R. C. Mannell, T. K. Behrens and L. L. Caldwell. (2007). Perspectives of public health and leisure studies on determinants of physically active leisure. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

Public health has historically been concerned with eliminating factors associated with disease, disability, and early mortality, whereas leisure studies has emerged from the need to create and manage recreational opportunities and promote leisure activities and experiences. Coincidently, both fields have progressed toward an appreciation of the role of active leisure in enhancing a population's health and well-being. Factors associated with making choices to be physically active in leisure time are complex and multidimensional. This paper provides historical perspectives from public health and leisure studies (i.e., parks and recreation), describes models used to understand physically active leisure from both fields, and suggests direction for future collaborative research between public health and parks, recreation, and leisure researchers.

S. Alhassan, J. R. Sirard and T. N. Robinson. (2007). The effects of increasing outdoor play time on physical activity in Latino preschool children. International Journal Of Pediatric Obesity.

Objective. A randomized controlled pilot study to test the hypothesis that increasing preschool children's outdoor free play time increases their daily physical activity levels. Methods. Physical activity was assessed by accelerometers for four consecutive school days in thirty-two Latino children (3.6 +/- 0.5 years) attending a preschool for low-income families. After two days of baseline physical activity assessment, participants were randomly assigned to an intervention (RECESS, n = 17) or control (CON; n = 15) group. The RECESS group received two additional 30-minute periods of outdoor free play time per day for two days. The CON group followed their normal classroom schedule. Between group differences in physical activity variables were tested with a Wilcoxon rank-sum test. Results. There were no statistically significant differences between groups in changes from baseline in average total daily (CON, 48.2 +/- 114.5; RECESS, 58.2 +/- 74.6) and during school day (CON, 64.6 +/- 181.9; RECESS, 59.7 +/- 79.1) counts per minute, or total daily (CON, 0.4 +/- 1.3; RECESS, 0.3 +/- 0.8) and during school day (CON, 0.6 +/- 2.1,- RECESS, 0.5 +/- 0.8) percent of time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Conclusions. Substantially increasing preschoolers' outdoor free play time did not increase their physical activity levels.

B. W. Alshalalfah and A. S. Shalaby. (2007). Case study: Relationship of walk access distance to transit with service, travel, and personal characteristics. Journal Of Urban Planning And Development-Asce.

This paper explores the relationship between walk access distance to transit and various characteristics of the transit service and transit users in the city of Toronto, Canada. The data used in this study included individual records of transit trips made in the morning peak period (6-9 a.m.) on a regular week day. The results show that the dense transit route network in the downtown area results in lower walk access distances than in other parts of the city. Also, dwelling type of the household, number of vehicles available in the household, and transit service frequency show a noteworthy relationship with access distance in Toronto. In general, it was found that around 60% of transit users in Toronto live within the transit service area of 300 m airline distance assumed by the transit service provider. These results indicate that people in Toronto are willing to walk further to access transit: than assumed existing standards for transit service areas.

D. Alton, P. Adab, L. Roberts and T. Barrett. (2007). Relationship between walking levels and perceptions of the local neighbourhood environment. Archives Of Disease In Childhood.

Objective: To explore the relationship between frequency of walking trips, perceptions of the local environment and individual travel preferences in children. Design: Cross-sectional questionnaire-based study. Setting: Six primary schools in Birmingham, UK, range of socioeconomic classifications. Participants: 473 children aged 9 - 11 years (82% response rate), including 250 (52.9%) boys and 160 (33.8%) from ethnic minority populations. Outcome measures: The primary outcome measure was level of walking (high or low) based on self-reported walking frequency in the past week. Secondary outcome measures included child perceptions of seven aspects of the local environment and individual travel preference. All outcomes were measured through questionnaires administered at school in the presence of a researcher. Results: 198 (41.9%) children were classified as high walkers and 275 (58.1%) as low walkers. After adjusting for confounding factors, high walkers were more likely to perceive heavy traffic surrounding their homes (odds ratio (OR) 1.55, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03 to 2.33), unsafe streets (OR 1.88, 95% CI 1.27 to 2.80) and prefer healthier modes of travel (OR 1.67, 95% CI 2.56 to 1.08). High walkers were less likely to worry about strangers (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.45 to 1.02) and less likely to report no parks or sports grounds nearby (OR 0.66, 95% CI 0.42 to 1.02). Children from ethnic minority groups walked significantly less than white children (mean number of walking trips 16.8 and 21.9, respectively, p < 0.001). Conclusions: Certain environmental perceptions are related to walking levels in children. Awareness of these may help in the development of future interventions, and also enable healthcare professionals to encourage walking by providing case-specific and appropriate advice.

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