Introduction to the Active Living Research Reference List 2007

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L. V. Moore, A. V. Diez Roux, K. R. Evenson, A. P. McGinn and S. J. Brines. (2008). Availability of recreational resources in minority and low socioeconomic status areas. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine.

BACKGROUND: Differences in availability of recreational resources may contribute to racial and socioeconomic status (SES) disparities in physical activity. Variations in the location and density of recreational resources were examined by SES and racial composition of neighborhoods. METHODS: Densities of resources available in recreational facilities and parks were estimated for census tracts between April 2003 and June 2004 in North Carolina, New York, and Maryland using kernel estimation. The probability of not having a facility or park was modeled by tract racial composition and SES, adjusting for population and area, using binomial regression in 2006. Mean densities of tract resources were modeled by SES and racial composition using linear regression. RESULTS: Minority neighborhoods were significantly more likely than white neighborhoods not to have recreational facilities (relative probability [RP]=3.27 [95% CI=2.11-5.07] and 8.60 [95% CI=4.48-16.51], for black and Hispanic neighborhoods, respectively). Low-income neighborhoods were 4.5 times more likely to not have facilities than high-income areas (95% CI=2.87-7.12). Parks were more equitably distributed. Most resources located in recreational facilities required a fee and were less dense in minority and low-income areas. Those located inside parks were usually free to use, sports-related, and denser in poor and minority neighborhoods. CONCLUSIONS: Recreational facilities and the resources they offer are not equitably distributed. The presence of parks in poor and minority areas suggest that improving the types and quality of resources in parks could be an important strategy to increase physical activity and reduce racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities.


J. Mota, H. Gomes, M. Almeida, J. C. Ribeiro, J. Carvalho and M. P. Santos. (2007). Active versus passive transportation to school - differences in screen time, socio-economic position and perceived environmental characteristics in adolescent girls. Annals Of Human Biology.

Objective: The aims of this study were (1) to assess the relationships between transport to and from school (active vs. passive), sedentary behaviours, measures of socio-economic position and perceived environmental variables, and (2) to determine which, if any, variables were predictors of active transportation. Methods: The sample comprised 705 girls with mean age of 14.7 (SD=1.6) years old. Questionnaires were used to describe travel mode to school and to estimate weekly television and computer use (screen time). Girls were assigned to active transportation (AT) or passive transportation (PT) groups depending on whether they walked or bicycled (AT) to and from school or travelled by car or bus (PT). Screen time was determined by the number of hours they reported watching television and using computers in the week preceding the examination, including weekends. Socio-economic position was established by parental occupation and educational level. A questionnaire assessed Perceived Neighbourhood Environments. Results: No statistically significant differences were seen for screen time between travel groups. Occupational status of both mother (r=-0.17) and father (r=-0.15) and father's educational level (r=-0.10) were significantly and negatively associated with AT, while street connectivity (r=0.10) was positively and significantly associated with AT. Logistic regression analysis showed that the likelihood of active commuting decreased by around 50% with increasing father's occupation (odds ratio (OR)=0.51; p <= 0.05) and father's education (OR=0.52; p <= 0.05) from low to middle socio-economic position groups. Further, the data showed that girls who agreed that `there are many four-way intersections in my neighbourhood' were more likely to be active (OR=1.63; p <= 0.05). Conclusion: The data of this study showed that lower socio-economic position is associated with active commuting to school and that street connectivity is a predictor of active transportation in adolescent girls.

J. Mota, A. Lacerda, M. P. Santos, J. C. Ribeiro and J. Carvalho. (2007). Perceived neighborhood environments and physical activity in an elderly sample. Perceptual And Motor Skills.

Increasing evidence indicates the importance of environmental variables in explaining physical activity. This study evaluated sex differences in perception of home and neighborhood environmental support and assessed which neighborhood environmental variables were associated with reported physical activity of elderly people. A sample of 126 women (M age = 79.1 +/- 6.6 yr.) and 55 men (M age = 76.6 +/- 7.7 yr.) were healthy, community-dwelling individuals. A questionnaire about environmental variables was administered. Physical activity was assessed on the Baecke Questionnaire. Logistic regression analysis showed that Neighborhood Safety was related to total physical activity, activity in leisure time, and sport activities. Men were also likely to be more active in leisure time than women. Neighborhood Personal Safety was associated with physical activity of these elderly people, showing a potential influence of the environmental domain in physical activity.

R. W. Motl, R. K. Dishman, R. P. Saunders, M. Dowda and R. R. Pate. (2007). Perceptions of physical and social environment variables and self-efficacy as correlates of self-reported physical activity among adolescent girls. Journal Of Pediatric Psychology.

Objective This cross-sectional study examined the direct and indirect effects of perceived equipment accessibility, neighborhood safety, and social support on self-reported physical activity among older adolescent girls. Methods Adolescent girls (n = 1,655) who were in the 12th grade completed a battery of questionnaires that included self-report measures of the perceived physical environment, social support, barriers self-efficacy, and physical activity. Results Perceived neighborhood safety did not exhibit direct or indirect effects on self-reported physical activity. Perceived equipment accessibility exhibited an indirect effect on self-reported physical activity that was accounted for by barriers self-efficacy. Perceived social support exhibited direct and indirect effects on self-reported physical activity; the indirect effect was accounted for by barriers self-efficacy. The relationships were independent of parental education and body mass index (BMI). Conclusions Perceived physical environmental factors indirectly influenced self-reported physical activity, and perceived social environmental factors both directly and indirectly influenced self-reported physical activity in this sample of older adolescent girls.

A. V. Moudon, C. Lee, A. D. Cheadle, C. Garvin, D. B. Johnson, T. L. Schmid and R. D. Weathers. (2007). Attributes of environments supporting walking. American Journal Of Health Promotion.

Purpose. This study established a framework to audit environments supporting walking in neighborhoods. Design. Cross-sectional analysis using a telephone survey and 200 objective environmental variables. Setting. Urbanized King County, WA. Subjects. 608 randomly sampled adults. Measures. Walking measures constructed from survey questions, objective environmental measures taken from parcel-level databases in Geographic Information Systems. Analysis. Multinomial models estimated the odds of people engaging in moderate walking (< 149 min/wk) and in walking sufficiently to meet recommendations for health (150+ min/wk), relative to not walking; and in walking sufficiently, relative to walking moderately. A base model consisted of survey variables, and final models incorporated both survey and environmental variables. Results. Survey variables strongly associated with walking sufficiently to enhance health included household income, not having difficulty walking, using transit, perceiving social support for walking, walking outside of the neighborhood, and having a dog (p <.01). The models isolated 14 environmental variables associated with walking sufficiently (pseudo R-2 up to 0.46). Measures of distance to neighborhood destinations dominated the results: shorter distances to grocery stores/markets, restaurants, and retail stores, but longer distances to Offices or mixed-use buildings (p <.01 or.05). The density of the respondent's parcel was also strongly associated with walking sufficiently (p <.01). Conclusions. The study offered valid environmental measures of neighborhood walkability.

A. Mowen, E. Orsega-Smith, L. Payne, B. Ainsworth and G. Godbey. (2007). The role of park proximity and social support in shaping park visitation, physical activity, and perceived health among older adults. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

BACKGROUND: Health scholars purport that park proximity and social support promotes physical activity and health. However, few studies examine the combined contributions of these constructs in shaping physical activity and health. PURPOSE: In this study, the contributions of environmental and social characteristics in shaping park use, physical activity, and health are examined. METHODS: A survey was distributed to 1515 older adults in Cleveland, Ohio. Results: Path analysis indicated that social support was directly related to health. Perceived park walking proximity was related to physical activity and health through park use frequency. Park proximity was directly related to park uSEuration. CONCLUSIONS: Results suggest that environmental and social characteristics contribute to physical activity and health, but perceptions may also be a prerequisite to park use, daily physical activity, and health.


T. Muraleetharan and T. Hagiwara. (2007). Overall level of service of urban walking environment and its influence an pedestrian route choice behavior - Analysis of pedestrian travel in Sapporo, Japan. Transportation Research Record.

The objective of this study was to understand and quantify better the influence of the overall level of service (LOS) of the urban walking environment on pedestrian route choice behavior. A methodology for estimating the overall LOS of pedestrian walkways and crosswalks was developed on the basis of the concept of total utility value, which comes from a stated preference survey. Each sidewalk and crosswalk link was assigned an overall LOS according to its operational and geometric characteristics determined from field measurements. For analysis of pedestrian behavior, this study used data from a revealed preference survey on individual route choice behavior. A geographic information system network database was used to store the characteristics of the routes that pedestrians used. Network analysis with the ArcGIS program was used to analyze the routes, which included determination of the shortest-path routes and the optimized-LOS-path routes between origin-destination pairs. A comparative analysis of the actual routes and the estimated alternative routes was performed. On the basis of the results, a multinomial logit model was developed to express the route choice behaviors of pedestrians quantitatively. The model results indicate that pedestrians choose routes not only for distance but also for the overall LOS of sidewalks and crosswalks. On longer travel paths, pedestrians divert from the shortest-path route and are found to use sidewalks and crosswalks with high LOS. On shorter routes, pedestrians tend not to avoid sidewalks or crosswalks with low LOS. This analysis suggests that efforts to accommodate pedestrians in urban areas should focus on improving the walking environment of the road network.

N. M. Murphy and A. Bauman. (2007). Mass sporting and physical activity events--are they "bread and circuses" or public health interventions to increase population levels of physical activity? Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

BACKGROUND: Large-scale, one-off sporting or physical activity (PA) events are often thought to impact population PA levels. This article reviews the evidence and explores the nature of the effect. METHODS: A search of the published and grey literature was conducted to July 2005 using relevant databases, web sources, and personal contacts. Impacts are described at the individual, societal and community, and environmental levels. RESULTS: Few quality evaluations have been conducted. While mass sporting events appear to influence PA-related infrastructure, there is scant evidence of impact on individual participation at the population level. There is some evidence that events promoting active transport can positively affect PA. CONCLUSIONS: The public health potential of major sporting and PA events is often cited, but evidence for public health benefit is lacking. An evaluation framework is proposed.

G. Nicoll. (2007). Spatial measures associated with stair use. American Journal of Health Promotion.

PURPOSE: Although stair use in workplaces can provide an accessible means of integrating physical activity into work routines, there is little information available on how building design influences stair use. DESIGN: This cross-sectional study assessed the relationship between stair use and the design and location of stairs. SETTING: Ten three- or four-story academic buildings on two university campuses. SAMPLE: The buildings contained a total of 38 stairs and 12 elevators. MEASURES: Stair use was measured using infrared monitors. Eighteen environmental variables that operationalized the appeal, convenience, comfort, legibility, and safety of stairs were measured. RESULTS: Regression analysis identified eight spatial variables associated with stair use: travel distances from stair to nearest entrance and the elevator, effective area or occupant load of each stair, accessibility of each stair, area of stair isovist (a graphic representation of the horizontal extent of a person's visual field from a specific point of reference within a building floor plan), number of turns required for travel from the stair to closest entrance, and the most integrated path (MIP). Three variables (effective area, area of stair isovist, and number of turns for travel from the MIP), explained 53 % of stair use in the 10 buildings. Most variables operationalizing the appeal, comfort, and safety of stairs were not statistically influential. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that the spatial qualities that optimize the convenience and legibility of stairs may have the most influence on stair use in buildings.

J. M. Oakes, A. Forsyth and K. H. Schmitz. (2007). The effects of neighborhood density and street connectivity on walking behavior: the Twin Cities walking study. Epidemiol Perspect Innov.

ABSTRACT: A growing body of health and policy research suggests residential neighborhood density and street connectivity affect walking and total physical activity, both of which are important risk factors for obesity and related chronic diseases. The authors report results from their methodologically novel Twin Cities Walking Study; a multilevel study which examined the relationship between built environments, walking behavior and total physical activity. In order to maximize neighborhood-level variation while maintaining the exchangeability of resident-subjects, investigators sampled 716 adult persons nested in 36 randomly selected neighborhoods across four strata defined on density and street-connectivity - a matched sampling design. Outcome measures include two types of self-reported walking (from surveys and diaries) and so-called objective 7-day accelerometry measures. While crude differences are evident across all outcomes, adjusted effects show increased odds of travel walking in higher-density areas and increased odds of leisure walking in low-connectivity areas, but neither density nor street connectivity are meaningfully related to overall mean miles walked per day or increased total physical activity. Contrary to prior research, the authors conclude that the effects of density and block size on total walking and physical activity are modest to non-existent, if not contrapositive to hypotheses. Divergent findings are attributed to this study's sampling design, which tends to mitigate residual confounding by socioeconomic status.

L. N. Oliver, N. Schuurman and A. W. Hall. (2007). Comparing circular and network buffers to examine the influence of land use on walking for leisure and errands. International Journal of Health Geography.

BACKGROUND: There is increasing interest in examining the influence of the built environment on physical activity. High-resolution data in a geographic information system is increasingly being used to measure salient aspects of the built environment and studies often use circular or road network buffers to measure land use around an individual's home address. However, little research has examined the extent to which the selection of circular or road network buffers influences the results of analysis. The objective of this study is to examine the influence of land use type (residential, commercial, recreational and park land and institutional land) on 'walking for leisure' and 'walking for errands' using 1 km circular and line-based road network buffers. Data on individual walking patterns is obtained from a survey of 1311 respondents in greater Vancouver and respondent's postal code centroids were used to construct the individual buffers. Logistic regression was used for statistical analysis. RESULTS: Using line-based road network buffers, increasing proportion of institutional land significantly reduced the odds of 'walking for leisure 15 minutes or less per day' no significant results were found for circular buffers. A greater proportion of residential land significantly increased the odds of 'walking for errands less than 1 hour per week' for line-based road network buffer while no significant results for circular buffers. An increased proportion of commercial land significantly decreased the odds of 'walking for errands less than 1 hour per week' for both circular and line-based road network buffers. CONCLUSION: The selection of network or circular buffers has a considerable influence on the results of analysis. Land use characteristics generally show greater associations with walking using line-based road network buffers than circular buffers. These results show that researchers need to carefully consider the most appropriate buffer with which to calculate land use characteristics.

P. S. Olszewski. (2007). Singapore motorisation restraint and its implications on travel behaviour and urban sustainability. Transportation.

The example of Singapore shows that rapid urban and economic growth does not have to bring traffic congestion and pollution. Singapore has chosen to restrain car traffic demand due to its limited land supply. Transport policy based on balanced development of road and transit infrastructure and restraint of traffic has been consistently implemented for the past 30 years. Combined with land use planning, it resulted in a modern transport system, which is free from major congestion and provides users with different travel alternatives. As the economic growth caused a substantial increase in demand for cars, several pricing policies were introduced with the aim of restraining car ownership and usage. Growth of the vehicle population is now controlled and potentially congested roads are subject to road pricing. These measures help to keep the roads free from major congestion, maintain car share of work trips below 25% and keep the transport energy usage low. Although Singapore conditions are in many aspects unique, its travel demand experience can provide useful lessons for other rapidly growing cities in Asia.

S. D. O'Shea, N. F. Taylor and J. D. Paratz. (2007).But watch out for the weather: factors affecting adherence to progressive resistance exercise for persons with COPD. Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation and Prevention.

PURPOSE: Exercise is an important treatment modality for persons with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), but factors influencing adherence have been examined infrequently. The purpose of this investigation was to explore adherence factors to a progressive resistance exercise program for persons with COPD. METHODS: Persons with COPD enrolled in a 12-week trial of progressive resistance exercise were invited to participate in 2 semistructured qualitative interviews exploring program adherence. Interviews were audio-taped, transcribed, and then coded independently by 2 researchers. Themes relating to short-term and long-term adherence were then developed and described. RESULTS: Twenty-two participants were interviewed at the conclusion of the intervention (12 weeks), and 19 completed a second interview at 24 weeks. Short-term exercise adherence was facilitated by expected outcomes, self-motivation, supervision, and group support, whereas health and weather factors were the major barriers to adherence. The barriers to exercise remained unchanged at 24 weeks despite a large decline in exercise adherence. Removal of environmental support at 12 weeks may have contributed to poor long-term exercise maintenance, with participants identifying group support and regular monitoring by a therapist as the most important strategies for maintaining exercise. CONCLUSIONS: The provision of external support in training program design appears important for persons with COPD. Longer-term adherence declined when group support and regular monitoring by a therapist was removed, despite the major perceived exercise barriers remaining unchanged. Therefore, further investigation is required to determine effective strategies for maximizing longer-term exercise adherence in this population.


N. Owen, E. Cerin, E. Leslie, L. Dutoit, N. Coffee, L. D. Frank, A. E. Bauman, G. Hugo, B. E. Saelens and J. F. Sallis. (2007). Neighborhood walkability and the walking behavior of Australian adults. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine.

Background: The physical attributes of residential neighborhoods, particularly the connectedness of streets and the proximity of destinations, can influence walking behaviors. To provide the evidence for public health advocacy on activity-friendly environments, large-scale studies in different countries are needed. Associations of neighborhood physical environments with adults' walking for transport and walking for recreation must be better understood. Method: Walking for transport and walking for recreation were assessed with a validated survey among 2650 adults recruited from neighborhoods in an Australian city between July 2003 and June 2004, with neighborhoods selected to have either high or low walkability, based on objective measures of connectedness and proximity derived from geographic information systems (GIS) databases. The study design was stratified by area-level socioeconomic status, while analyses controlled for participant age, gender, individual-level socioeconomic status, and reasons for neighborhood self-selection. Results: A strong independent positive association was found between weekly frequency of walking for transport and the objectively derived neighborhood walkability index. Preference for walkable neighborhoods moderated the relationship of walkability with weekly minutes, but not the frequency of walking for transport-walkability was related to higher frequency of transport walking, irrespective of neighborhood self-selection. There were no significant associations between environmental factors and walking for recreation. Conclusions: Associations of neighborhood walkability attributes with walking for transport were confirmed in Australia. They accounted for a modest but statistically significant proportion of the total variation of the relevant walking behavior. The physical environment attributes that make up the walkability index are potentially important candidate factors for future environmental and policy initiatives designed to increase physical activity.


R. Pabayo and G. Gauvin. (2007). Use of different modes of transportation to travel to school in a representative population-based sample of children and adolescents, 1999. American Journal Of Epidemiology.



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