Introduction to the Active Living Research Reference List 2007

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K. Gebel, A. E. Bauman and M. Petticrew. (2007). The physical environment and physical activity - A critical appraisal of review articles. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine.

Background: Over the last few years an increasing number of studies investigating the association between the physical environment and physical activity have been published. Many reviews have also summarized this emerging body of research, and such review papers are frequently used by public health policymakers and researchers themselves to inform decision making. Methods: This paper systematically appraises methodologic aspects of literature reviews examining the relationship between physical activity and the physical environment published in peer-reviewed journals between 2000 and 2005. Eleven reviews and their antecedent source papers were examined. Results: The majority of these reviews omitted between one third and two thirds of the studies that could have been eligible for inclusion at the time they conducted the review. Methodologic information on how the review was conducted was not always provided. Furthermore, in some cases results of a study were reported incorrectly, or physical environmental aspects were conflated with social environmental or cognitive factors. Moreover, when results were reported incorrectly, physical environmental variables were almost always reported as significantly associated with physical activity, when these associations were nonsignificant, or were not assessed as part of the primary study. Conclusions: Users of reviews in this field should be aware that there are significant methodologic variations among them, and that some reviews may include only a sample of the relevant primary studies. However, this is difficult to determine given the frequent incompleteness of review method reporting. Greater standardization in the reporting of review methods may assist with future efforts to summarize studies of the relationship between physical environments and physical activity.

B. Giles-Corti, M. Knuiman, T. J. Pikora, K. Van Neil, A. Timperio, F. C. Bull, T. Shilton and M. Bulsara. (2007). Can the impact on health of a government policy designed to create more liveable neighbourhoods be evaluated? An overview of the RESIDential Environment Project. N S W Public Health Bull.

There is growing interest in the impact of community design on the health of residents. In 1998, the Western Australian Government began a trial of new subdivision design codes (i.e. Liveable Neighbourhoods Community Design Code) aimed at creating pedestrian-friendly neighbourhoods to increase walking, cycling and public transport use. The trial provided a unique opportunity for a natural experiment to evaluate the impact of a government planning policy on residents. Nevertheless, evaluations of this kind present a number of methodological challenges in obtaining the highest quality evidence possible. This paper describes the RESIDential Environment Project's study design and discusses how various methodological challenges were overcome.

C. Goodman, S. Davies, S. S. Tai, S. Dinan and S. Iliffe. (2007). Promoting older peoples' participation in activity, whose responsibility? A case study of the response of health, local government and voluntary organizations. Journal of Interprofessional Care.

The benefits for older people of participating in regular activity are well documented. This paper focuses on how publicly funded community-based organizations enable older people to engage in physical activity. The research questions were: (i) What activity promotion schemes/initiatives exist for older people? (ii) Who has responsibility for them, how are they funded and organized and what evidence exists of interagency working? (iii) Who are the older people that participate? (iv) What are the perceived and measurable outcomes of the initiatives identified? To establish the type and range of provision for older people in a sector of London, the strategies and information about existing activity promoting schemes of inner city health, local government and voluntary organizations were reviewed. Key informants were then interviewed to establish the rationale, achievements and different schemes. One hundred and nine activity-promoting initiatives for older people were identified. Most were provided within an environment of short-term funding and organizational upheaval and reflected eclectic theoretical and ideological approaches. The findings demonstrate: (i) the need for organizations to apply evidence about what attracts and sustains older people's participation in physical activity, and (ii) the need to develop funded programmes that build on past achievements, have explicit outcomes and exploit opportunities for cross agency working.

T. Gorely, S. J. Marshall, S. J. Biddle and N. Cameron. (2007). Patterns of sedentary behaviour and physical activity among adolescents in the United Kingdom: Project STIL. Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

The purpose of this study was to use ecological momentary assessment to investigate the patterning of physical activity and sedentary behaviours in UK adolescents and to examine if different lifestyle groups differ on key explanatory variables. A total of 1,371 (38% boys, mean age 14.7 years) adolescents completed diaries every 15 min for 3 weekdays outside of school hours and 1 weekend day. Cluster analysis yielded five-cluster solutions for both boys and girls to explain the grouping of sedentary behaviours and physical activity. The clusters demonstrated that adolescents engage in many leisure time behaviours but have one activity that predominates. Active adolescents spend more time outside and more time with their friends. Few demographic and environmental variables distinguished between clusters. The findings suggest a potential need for different behavioural targets in interventions to reduce sedentary behaviour in sub groups of the adolescent population. Further research is required to examine the modifiable determinants of different sedentary lifestyles among young people.

T. Gorely, S. J. Marshall, S. J. Biddle and N. Cameron. (2007). The prevalence of leisure time sedentary behaviour and physical activity in adolescent girls: An ecological momentary assessment approach. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity.

Study objective. To use ecological momentary assessment to describe how adolescent girls in the United Kingdom spend their leisure time. Design. Cross-sectional, stratified, random sample from secondary schools in 15 regions within the United Kingdom. The data are from a larger study of adolescent lifestyles (Project STIL). Participants. A total of 923 girls with a mean age of 14.7 years (range 12.5-17.6 years). The majority were white-European (88.7%). Main results. Across all behaviours, television viewing occupied the most leisure time on both weekdays and weekend days. The five most time consuming sedentary weekday activities occupied on average 262.9 minutes per weekday and 400 minutes per weekend day. In contrast, only 44.2 minutes was occupied by active transport or sports and exercise per weekday, and 53 minutes per weekend day. Only a minority watched more than 4 hours of TV per day (3.3% on weekdays and 20.7% on weekend days). Computer use is low in this group. Some differences were noted in the means and prevalences between weekend and weekdays, most likely reflecting the greater discretionary time available at the weekend. Few age differences were noted. Conclusions. Adolescent girls engage in a variety of behaviours that contribute to an overall lifestyle that may be active or sedentary. Effective physical activity promotion strategies must focus on facilitating shifts towards healthy overall patterns of behaviour rather than shifts in any one single behaviour.

M. L. Granner, Sharpe, P.A., Hutto, B., Wilcox, S., Addy, C.L. (2007). Perceived Individual, Social, and Environmental Factors for Physical Activity and Walking. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

Background: Few studies have explored associations of individual, social, and environmental factors with physical activity and walking behavior. Methods: A random-digit-dial questionnaire, which included selected individual, social, and environmental variables, was administered to 2025 adults, age 18 y and older, in two adjacent counties in southeastern state. Logistic regressions were conducted adjusting for age, race, sex, education, and employment. Results: In multivariate models, somewhat different variables were associated with physical activity versus regular walking. Self-efficacy (OR=19.19), having an exercise partner (OR=1.47), recreation facilities (OR=1.54), and safety of trails from crime (OR=0.72) were associated with physical activity level; while self-efficacy (OR=4.22), known walking routes (OR=1.54), recreation facilities (OR=1.57-1.59), and safety of trails from crime (OR=0.69) were associated with regular walking behavior. Conclusion: Physical activity and walking behaviors were associated with similar variables in this study.

S. F. Griffin, D. K. Wilson, S. Wilcox, J. Buck and B. E. Ainsworth. (2007). Physical Activity Influences in a Disadvantaged African American Community and the Communities' Proposed Solutions. Health Promotion Practice.

The purpose of this assessment is to increase our understanding of how safety and environmental factors influence physical activity among African American residents living in a low-income, high-crime neighborhood and to get input from these residents about how to best design physical activity interventions for their neighborhood. Twenty-seven African American adult residents of a low-income, high-crime neighborhood in a suburban southeastern community participated in three focus groups. Participants were asked questions about perceptions of what would help them, their families, and their neighbors be more physically active. Two independent raters coded the responses into themes. Participants suggested three environmental approaches in an effort to increase physical activity: increasing law enforcement, community connectedness and social support, and structured programs. Findings suggest that safety issues are an important factor for residents living in disadvantaged conditions and that the residents know how they want to make their neighborhoods healthier.

J. Y. Guo and C. Chen. (2007). The built environment and travel behavior: making the connection. Transportation.

R. A. Harrison, I. Gemmell and R. F. Heller. (2007). The population effect of crime and neighbourhood on physical activity: an analysis of 15 461 adults. Journal Of Epidemiology And Community Health.

Area-based interventions offer the potential to increase physical activity for many sedentary people in countries such as the UK. Evidence on the effect of individual and area/neighbourhood influences on physical activity is in its infancy, and despite its value to policy makers a population focus is rarely used. Data from a population-based health and lifestyle survey of adults in northwest England were used to analyse associations between individual and neighbourhood perceptions and physical activity. The population effect of eliminating a risk factor was expressed as a likely effect on population levels of physical activity. Of the 15 461 responders, 21 923 (27.1%) were physically active. Neighbourhood perceptions of leisure facilities were associated with physical activity, but no association was found for sense of belonging, public transport or shopping facilities. People who felt safe in their neighbourhood were more likely to be physically active, but no associations were found for vandalism, assaults, muggings or experience of crime. The number of physically active people would increase by 3290 if feelings of "unsafe" during the day were removed, and by 11 237 if feelings of "unsafe" during the night were removed. An additional 8342 people would be physically active if everyone believed that they were "very well placed for leisure facilities". Feeling safe had the potential largest effect on population levels of physical activity. Strategies to increase physical activity in the population need to consider the wider determinants of health-related behaviour, including fear of crime and safety.

K. M. Heinrich, R. E. Lee, R. R. Suminski, G. R. Regan, J. Y. Reese-Smith, H. H. Howard, C. K. Haddock, W. S. C. Poston and J. S. Ahluwalia. (2007). Associations between the built environment and physical activity in public housing residents. International Journal Of Behavioral Nutrition And Physical Activity.

Background: Environmental factors may influence the particularly low rates of physical activity in African American and low-income adults. This cross-sectional study investigated how measured environmental factors were related to self-reported walking and vigorous physical activity for residents of low-income public housing developments. Methods: Physical activity data from 452 adult residents residing in 12 low-income housing developments were combined with measured environmental data that examined the neighborhood (800 m radius buffer) around each housing development. Aggregated ecological and multilevel regression models were used for analysis. Results: Participants were predominately female (72.8%), African American (79.6%) and had a high school education or more (59.0%). Overall, physical activity rates were low, with only 21% of participants meeting moderate physical activity guidelines. Ecological models showed that fewer incivilities and greater street connectivity predicted 83% of the variance in days walked per week, p < 0.001, with both gender and connectivity predicting days walked per week in the multi-level analysis, p < 0.05. Greater connectivity and fewer physical activity resources predicted 90% of the variance in meeting moderate physical activity guidelines, p < 0.001, and gender and connectivity were the multi-level predictors, p < 0.05 and 0.01, respectively. Greater resource accessibility predicted 34% of the variance in days per week of vigorous physical activity in the ecological model, p < 0.05, but the multi-level analysis found no significant predictors. Conclusion: These results indicate that the physical activity of low-income residents of public housing is related to modifiable aspects of the built environment. Individuals with greater access to more physical activity resources with fewincivilities, as well as, greater street connectivity, are more likely to be physically active.

K. M. Heinrich, C. B. Johnson, Y. Jokura, B. Nett and J. E. Maddock. (2008). A survey of policies and local ordinances supporting physical activity in Hawaii counties. Preventing Chronic Disease.

BACKGROUND: Features of the built environment that influence physical activity behavior characterize Active Community Environments. CONTEXT: Whether Active Community Environments policies exist in the state of Hawaii's four counties is unknown. The purpose of this study was to provide a baseline assessment of these policies in Hawaii. METHODS: A survey assessing policies in six domains (i.e., sidewalks, bike lanes, greenways, recreational facilities, commercial buildings, and shared-use paths) was completed by employees of Hawaii planning departments. CONSEQUENCES: Honolulu County had the most policies (n = 13), followed by Maui County (n = 6), Kauai County (n = 2), and Hawaii County (n = 1). Written policies were most prevalent in Honolulu County (n = 15), followed by Kauai County (n = 14), Hawaii County, (n = 4), and Maui County (n = 3). Sidewalk policies were reported for Honolulu County, Maui County (no written policies were found for Maui County), and Kauai County. Bike lane and greenway policies were found for Honolulu County (reported and written) and Kauai County (written). Recreation facility and pedestrian shared-use path policies existed for all counties, although only Honolulu and Kauai counties had written policies for commercial buildings (Maui County reported having policies). Few policies directly addressed physical activity promotion. INTERPRETATION: The most populous county, Honolulu, had the most policies in place, although discrepancies existed between reported and written policies. This baseline measure of physical activity-related policies will help focus efforts of county coalitions to increase opportunities for physical activity. Additional policies should be tracked with population behavior surveillance.

S. Herrington and J. Nicholls. (2007). Outdoor play spaces in Canada: The safety dance of standards as policy. Critical Social Policy.

Over the past decade the outdoor play spaces designed for children in Canada have been largely shaped by fear and profit, rather than by what we know about children's play and development. Since the early 1980s the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) has played an increasingly important role in this transformation as their technical standards for children's outdoor play spaces have been gradually adapted as policy by local and regional agencies. While the CSA has historically regulated industrial and commercial projects that enable international trade and harmonization with countries such as the United States, their extension of influence to early childhood is problematic; particularly when applied to childcare centres. The following describes some of the issues that arise from the use of safety standards as policy, and the problems these standards cause when applied to childcare centres.

O. Hertel, M. Hvidberg, M. Ketzel, L. Storm and L. Stausgaard. (2008). A proper choice of route significantly reduces air pollution exposure--a study on bicycle and bus trips in urban streets. Sci Total Environ.

A proper selection of route through the urban area may significantly reduce the air pollution exposure. This is the main conclusion from the presented study. Air pollution exposure is determined for two selected cohorts along the route going from home to working place, and back from working place to home. Exposure is determined with a street pollution model for three scenarios: bicycling along the shortest possible route, bicycling along the low exposure route along less trafficked streets, and finally taking the shortest trip using public transport. Furthermore, calculations are performed for the cases the trip takes place inside as well as outside the traffic rush hours. The results show that the accumulated air pollution exposure for the low exposure route is between 10% and 30% lower for the primary pollutants (NO(x) and CO). However, the difference is insignificant and in some cases even negative for the secondary pollutants (NO(2) and PM(10)/PM(2.5)). Considering only the contribution from traffic in the travelled streets, the accumulated air pollution exposure is between 54% and 67% lower for the low exposure route. The bus is generally following highly trafficked streets, and the accumulated exposure along the bus route is therefore between 79% and 115% higher than the high exposure bicycle route (the short bicycle route). Travelling outside the rush hour time periods reduces the accumulated exposure between 10% and 30% for the primary pollutants, and between 5% and 20% for the secondary pollutants. The study indicates that a web based route planner for selecting the low exposure route through the city might be a good service for the public. In addition the public may be advised to travel outside rush hour time periods.

M. Hillsdon, J. Panter, C. Foster and A. Jones. (2007). Equitable access to exercise facilities. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine.

Background: Leisure-time physical activity patterns are low and socially patterned. Ecologic studies of the provision of exercise facilities indicate that in areas of deprivation, there is a trend toward reduced availability of exercise facilities compared with more affluent areas. Existing studies are restricted to single geographic areas or regions. In this study, national-level data were used to examine the relationship between neighborhood deprivation and the density of physical activity facilities in England. Methods: A database of all indoor exercise facilities in England was obtained, and facilities were linked to administrative areas and assigned a deprivation score. Census data were used to calculate the density of physical activity facilities per 1000 people per quintile of deprivation. The exercise facilities data were collected in 2005, and the analysis was conducted in 2006. Results: When all 5552 facilities were considered, there was a statistically significant negative relationship (p < 0.001) between area deprivation score and the density of physical activity facilities. A similar relationship was observed when public and private facilities were examined separately. When only swimming pools were examined, a negative association was observed for public pools (p < 0.0001) but not those that were private (P = 0.50), which were more evenly distributed among quintiles of area deprivation. Conclusions: The availability of physical activity facilities declines with level of deprivation. Areas in most need of facilities to assist people live physically active lifestyles have fewer resources.

M. Hillsdon, J. Panter, A. Jones and C. Foster. (2007). Exploring environmental determinants of physical activity-The road to the future is always under construction. Public Health.

N. L. Holt, J. C. Spence, Z. L. Sehn and N. Cutumisu. (2008). Neighborhood and developmental differences in children's perceptions of opportunities for play and physical activity. Health & Place.

The purposes of this study were to examine perceptions of places to play and be physically active among children from two different urban neighborhoods, and evaluate these perceptions for age-related developmental differences. One hundred and sixty-eight children from grades K-6 (aged 6-12 years old) completed mental maps depicting places where they could play and be physically active. The children were recruited from schools in two neighborhoods-one a high-walkability (H-W) grid-style neighborhood, the other a low-walkability (L-W) lollipop-style (i.e., cul-de-sacs) neighborhood. Analysis revealed that children in the H-W neighborhood depicted more active transportation and less non-active transportation than children in the L-W neighborhood. Children in the lowest grades (K-2) in the L-W neighborhood depicted more play in the home/yard environment than the oldest children, more good weather image events than children in Grades 3-6, and less play outside the home/yard environment than children in Grades 3 and 4. In the H-W neighborhood, the youngest children (K-2) depicted significantly less play in the home/yard environment and less play outside the home/yard environment than older children (Grades 3-6). Thus, both the type of urban neighborhood and children's age moderated perceptions of places to play and be physically active.

M. W. Horner. (2007). A multi-scale analysis of urban form and commuting change in a small metropolitan area (1990-2000). Annals Of Regional Science.

Issues of growth, especially the spatial nature of recent urban development and its implications for travel patterns, have received a great deal of attention. In particular, questions persist as to how the spatial distribution of workers and jobs influences commute patterns. This paper investigates changes in commuting and land use patterns using measures of jobs-housing balance, commuting efficiency and other statistics. A smaller urban area is chosen for study (Tallahassee, FL, USA)and data on its workers, jobs, and commute patterns are obtained from the Census Transportation Planning Package for 1990 and 2000. The key research questions investigated probe whether there were substantial changes in urban form and commuting over the period. A two-tiered approach is taken where change is explored at the regional and local scales using GIS, optimization procedures, and inferential statistical techniques. The results reveal the extent of the spatial changes in the study area between 1990 and 2000. Major findings included stability in urban structure over the time period, as well as a persistent strong relationship between land use and commute patterns. These results are discussed in light of their implications for other cities and for future work.

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