Introduction to the Active Living Research Reference List 2007

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J. Kruger, A. J. Mowen and J. Librett. (2007). Recreation, parks, and the public health agenda: developing collaborative surveillance frameworks to measure leisure time activity and active park use. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

BACKGROUND: The purposes of this study were to review surveillance of recreation and park use to determine adaptations for tracking leisure time physical activity and increasing collaboration to achieve public health goals. METHODS: Surveillance in public health and parks and recreation and discussions at the 2006 Cooper Institute conference were reviewed. RESULTS: This review suggested four actions to improve collaborative surveillance of leisure time physical activity and active park use. The proposals are to incorporate more detailed measures of leisure time physical activity and active park visits into park surveillance; include key park, recreation, and leisure items in public health surveillance; assess active park visits and leisure time physical activity more frequently; and establish public health physical activity objectives for parks and recreation and outdoor recreation participation. CONCLUSIONS: These proposals can facilitate collaboration between public health and parks and recreation and exploration of active park use and outdoor recreation in relation to health.

J. Kuo, C. C. Voorhees, J. A. Haythornthwaite and D. R. Young. (2007). Associations between family support, family intimacy, and neighborhood violence and physical activity in urban adolescent girls. American Journal Of Public Health.

We examined the association between various dimensions of the family environment, including family intimacy and involvement inactivities, family support for physical activity, and neighborhood violence (perceived and objective) and physical activity among urban, predominantly African American, ninth-grade girls in Baltimore, Md. Greater family intimacy (P=.05) and support (P=.01), but not neighborhood violence, was associated with physical activity. Family factors, including family intimacy and support, are potential targets in physical activity interventions for urban high-school girls.

P. C. Lai, Li, C.L., Chan, K.W., Kwong, K.H. (2007). An Assessment of GPS and GIS in Recreational Tracking. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration.

This paper presents an assessment of the effectiveness of using Personal Data Assistants equipped with Geographic Information Systems and Global Positioning System in field data collection of tourist movement. On-site questionnaire survey and GPS tracking of the leisurely walk of selective groups of park visitors were conducted between August 2005 and January 2006 at various entry points to the Pokfulam Country Park in Hong Kong. The results were examined by means of mapping, 3D visualization, and statistical analyses. Our results indicated that the time of survey and spatial locations influenced the reception of GPS signals. Environmental factors such as terrain, built structures, and tree canopies played an important role in positioning accuracy. We managed to illustrate a workable methodology for tracking the flow of tourists and made recommendations on possible uses of such a practice in tourism planning and management.

B. Landsberg, S. Plachta-Danielzik, D. Much, M. Johannsen, D. Lange and M. J. Muller. (2007). Associations between active commuting to school, fat mass and lifestyle factors in adolescents: the Kiel Obesity Prevention Study (KOPS). European Journal Of Clinical Nutrition.

Objective:To examine possible associations between active commuting (walking or cycling) to school, parameters of adiposity and lifestyle factors in 14-year-old adolescents of the Kiel Obesity Prevention Study.Subjects:A total of 626 14-year-old adolescents.Methods:Measured body mass index (BMI), fat mass (FM), distance to school as well as self-reported modes and duration of commuting to school, time spent in structured and unstructured physical activities (PAs), media use, nutrition, alcohol consumption and smoking.Results:Parameters of adiposity did not differ between different commuting modes after stratifying by gender. Active commuters reported higher overall PA, which was caused by commuting activity and time spent in unstructured PA in girls and just by commuting activity in boys. In active commuters, 28.4% of overall PA was explained by commuting activity. Additionally, TV viewing was lower in active commuters. Compared to their inactively commuting counterparts, actively commuting boys were less likely to smoke. After controlling for potential confounders the interaction term 'active commuting by distance to school' and 'time spent in structured PA' were independent predictors of FM, whereas active commuting by itself showed no effect.Conclusion:The present data suggest that active commuting to school per SEoes not affect FM or BMI until considering distance to school. Increasing walking or cycling distance results in decreasing FM. However, the everyday need to get to and from school may enhance adolescents' overall PA.European Journal of Clinical Nutrition advance online publication, 16 May 2007; doi:10.1038/sj.ejcn.1602781.


B. Laraia, L. Messer, K. Evenson and J. S. Kaufman. (2007). Neighborhood factors associated with physical activity and adequacy of weight gain during pregnancy. Journal Of Urban Health-Bulletin Of The New York Academy Of Medicine.

Healthy diet, physical activity, smoking, and adequate weight gain are all associated with maternal health and fetal growth during pregnancy. Neighborhood characteristics have been associated with poor maternal and child health outcomes, yet conceptualization of potential mechanisms are still needed. Unique information captured by neighborhood inventories, mostly conducted in northern US and Canadian urban areas, has been shown to reveal important aspects of the community environment that are not captured by the demographic quantities in census data. This study used data from the Pregnancy, Nutrition, and Infection (PIN) prospective cohort study to estimate the influences of individual-level and neighborhood-level characteristics on health behaviors and adequacy of weight gain during pregnancy. Women who participated in the PIN study and who resided in Raleigh, North Carolina and its surrounding suburbs were included (n=703). Results from a neighborhood data collection inventory identified three social constructs, physical incivilities, territoriality, and social spaces, which were hypothesized to influence maternal health behaviors. The physical incivility scale was associated with decreased odds (adjusted OR=0.74, 95% CI=0.57, 0.98) in participating in vigorous leisure activity before pregnancy after controlling for several individual con founders, and a crude association for decreased odds of excessive weight gain (OR=0.79, 95% CI=0.64, 0.98). The social spaces scale was associated with decreased odds for inadequate (adjusted OR=0.74, 95% CI=0.56, 0.98) and excessive (adjusted OR=0.69, 95% CI=0.54, 0.98) gestational weight gain. The social spaces scale was also associated with decreased odds of living greater than 3 miles from a supermarket (adjusted OR=0.03, 95% CI=0.00, 0.27). Territoriality was not associated with any pregnancy-related health behavior. None of the neighborhood constructs were associated with smoking or diet quality. Physical incivilities and social spaces neighborhood characteristics may be important to measure to improve our understanding of the potential mechanisms through which neighborhood environments influence health.


R. E. Lee, C. Cubbin and M. Winkleby. (2007). Contribution of neighbourhood socioeconomic status and physical activity resources to physical activity among women. Journal Of Epidemiology And Community Health.

Introduction: Residence in a deprived neighbourhood is associated with lower rates of physical activity. Little is known about the manifestation of deprivation that mediates this relationship. This study aimed to investigate whether access to physical activity resources mediated the relationship between neighbourhood socioeconomic status and physical activity among women. Method: Individual data from women participating in the Stanford Heart Disease Prevention Program (1979-90) were linked to census and archival data from existing records. Multilevel regression models were examined for energy expenditure and moderate and vigorous physical activity as reported in physical activity recalls. Results: After accounting for individual-level socioeconomic status, women who lived in lower-socioeconomic status neighbourhoods reported greater energy expenditure, but undertook less moderate physical activity, than women in moderate-socioeconomic status neighbourhoods. In contrast, women living in higher-socioeconomic status neighbourhoods reported more vigorous physical activity than women in moderate-socioeconomic status neighbourhoods. Although availability of physical activity resources did not appear to mediate any neighbourhood socioeconomic status associations, several significant interactions emerged, suggesting that women with low income or who live in lower-socioeconomic status neighbourhoods may differentially benefit from greater physical activity resource availability. Discussion: Although we found expected relationships between residence in a lower-socioeconomic status neighbourhood and undertaking less moderate or vigorous physical activity among women, we also found that these same women reported greater overall energy expenditure, perhaps as a result of greater work or travel demands. Greater availability of physical activity resources nearby appears to differentially benefit women living in lower-socioeconomic status neighbourhoods and low-income women, having implications for policy-making and planning.

C. Lee. (2007). Environment and active living: the roles of health risk and economic factors. American Journal of Health Promotion.

PURPOSE: This study examines the associations that a neighborhood ' physical and social environments have with transportation and recreation physical activities, with an emphasis on the roles of health risk and economic factors. DESIGN: It is a cross-sectional study with a hypothesis-testing approach. Setting. The study was conducted within the city of Seattle, Washington. Subjects. The subjects included 438 able-bodied, randomly selected adults. MEASURES: Physical activity and sociodemographic data came from a telephone survey (34 % response rate). Environmental variables were measured subjectively as people's perceptions and objectively using the Geographic Information System. Bivariate analyses and the Structural Equation Model were used to test the overall theoretic framework and the relationships among latent and observed variables. RESULTS: Lower-income populations lived in areas with more routine destinations and higher densities and were more active for transportation than higher-income populations. People with higher health risks were less active for both transportation and recreation purposes. The social environment-perception of people walking and biking in the neighborhood-was more strongly associated with recreational physical activities, while the physical environment was more strongly associated with transportation physical activities. CONCLUSION: Further investigation of different subpopulations and explicit distinction among different purposes of physical activities are needed in future research and interventions. This study is limited to urban areas and cross-sectional data.

S. M. Lee, C. R. Burgeson, J. E. Fulton and C. G. Spain. (2007). Physical education and physical activity: Results from the school health policies and programs study 2006. Journal Of School Health.

BACKGROUND: Comprehensive school-based physical activity programs consist of physical education and other physical activity opportunities including recess and other physical activity breaks, intramurals, interscholastic sports, and walk and bike to school initiatives. This article describes the characteristics of school physical education and physical activity policies and programs in the United States at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. METHODS: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducts the School Health Policies and Programs Study every 6 years. In 2006, computer-assisted telephone interviews or self-administered mail questionnaires were completed by state education agency personnel in all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and among a nationally representative sample of districts (n = 453). Computer-assisted personal interviews were conducted with personnel in a nationally representative sample of elementary, middle, and high schools (n = 988) and with a nationally representative sample of teachers of required physical education classes and courses (n = 1194). RESULTS: Most states and districts had adopted a policy stating that schools will teach physical education; however, few schools provided daily physical education. Additionally, many states, districts, and schools allowed students to be exempt from participating in physical education. Most schools provided some opportunities for students to be physically active outside physical education. Staff development for physical education was offered by states and districts, but physical education teachers generally did not receive staff development on a variety of important topics. CONCLUSIONS: To enhance physical education and physical activity in schools, a comprehensive approach at the state, district, school, and classroom levels is necessary. Policies, practices, and comprehensive staff development at the state and district levels might enable schools to improve opportunities for students to become physically active adults.

E. Lees, W. C. Taylor, J. T. Hepworth, K. Feliz, A. Cassells and J. N. Tobin. (2007). Environmental changes to increase physical activity: perceptions of older urban ethnic-minority women. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity.

Despite the numerous benefits of physical activity, older adults continue to be more sedentary than their younger counterparts, and sedentary behavior is more prevalent among older racial and ethnic minorities than among Whites. This study used the nominal group technique (NGT) to examine participants' perceptions of what neighborhood environmental changes would encourage greater physical activity for older African American and Hispanic women. Participants age 50-75 years were recruited from 2 urban community health clinics. Nine NGT sessions (45 participants) were conducted. The women were asked what changes in their neighborhood environment would encourage them to become more physically active. Responses to the research question were tabulated, and qualitative analysis was used to identify themes and categories. Major categories were physical environment changes, safety, and activities/social support. Although the physical environment received the greatest number of points, concerns for personal safety cut across categories. Participants indicated the need for more facilities in which to be active.

E. Leslie, R. McCrea, E. Cerin and R. Stimson. (2007). Regional variations in walking for different purposes - The South East Queensland quality of life study. Environment And Behavior.

Where people are located can influence behavioral choices and health outcomes through the effects of place on health. Walking is the most commonly reported form of nonoccupational and nonhousehold physical activity for adults. It is a behavior of particular interest to those in the transportation, urban planning, and public health fields. Researchers have examined patterns of walking from both an individual perspective (psychological and social factors) and from a broader community focus (location and built environment factors). The majority of studies have examined walking in the context of urban environments. Variations within regions (urban, periurban, and rural, for example) in walking have not been previously described. We uSEata from a regionally based quality of life survey to examine subregional variations in walking for particular purposes. Both the social and contextual variations that may underlie theSEifferences are considered. This is useful in helping identify particular factors that may be further investigated in disaggregated analyses using GIS methods to identify specific differences in objective attributes between subregions that may influence peoples' choices to walk, such as walking infrastructure and the availability of destinations.

E. Leslie, N. Coffee, L. Frank, N. Owen, A. Bauman and G. Hugo. (2007). Walkability of local communities: using geographic information systems to objectively assess relevant environmental attributes. Health & Place.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be used to objectively measure features of the built environment that may influence adults' physical activity, which is an important determinant of chronic disease. We describe how a previously developed index of walkability was operationalised in an Australian context, using available spatial data. The index was used to generate a stratified sampling frame for the selection of households from 32 communities for the PLACE (Physical Activity in Localities and Community Environments) study. GIS data have the potential to be used to construct measures of environmental attributes and to develop indices of walkability for cities, regions or local communities.


J. A. Levine. (2007). Exercise: a walk in the park? Mayo Clinic proceedings.

J. J. Librett, M. M. Yore, T. L. Schmid and H. W. Kohl. (2007). Are self-reported physical activity levels associated with perceived desirability of activity-friendly communities? Health & Place.

People living in activity-friendly communities (AFCs) are more active but the self-selection influence is unknown. From 4856 respondents we explored mediating variables with expressed desire to live in AFCs. Association with desire to live in AFCs included ages 18-24 years (odds ratio [OR] = 1.9), African American (OR = 1.9) or Hispanic (OR = 1.5), and believing AFCs would support activity-based transportation (OR = 2.4). Regular physical activity (PA) was marginally associated with desire to live in AFCs (OR = 1.3). These findings suggest that PA may be a significant factor in communities of this style. Strategies for social marketing along with changes to the built environment to increase PA levels are discussed. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

J. Librett, K. Henderson, G. Godbey and J. R. Morrow, Jr. (2007). An introduction to parks, recreation, and public health: collaborative frameworks for promoting physical activity. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

The purpose of parks and recreation as well as public health is to seek the highest possible quality of life for individuals and communities. Unfortunately, little discourse has occurred between the parks and recreation and public health professions. This missed opportunity has resulted in an incomplete understanding of the spectrum of issues shared by the fields, a slow transdisciplinary learning curve, and a dearth of knowledge-based linkages between science and practice. The goal of the 2006 Cooper Institute Conference on Parks, Recreation, and Public Health: Collaborative Frameworks for Promoting Physical Activity was to highlight opportunities and advance cooperation between parks, recreation, and public health researchers and practitioners that result in collaborations that influence public health decisions at the macro (agency) and micro (individual) levels. This article introduces the discussion on scientific and practice issues in parks, recreation, and public health. By establishing a baseline of frameworks for strengthening collaboration we hope to improve the health and quality of life through parks and recreation-based physical activity.

C. A. Loucaides, R. C. Plotnikoff and K. Bercovitz. (2007). Differences in the correlates of physical activity between urban and rural Canadian youth. Journal of School Health.

BACKGROUND: Despite the benefits of physical activity (PA), a significant proportion of youth remains inactive. Studies assessing differences in the correlates of PA among urban and rural youth are scarce, and such investigations can help identify subgroups of the population that may need to be targeted for special intervention programs. The purpose of this study was to assess differences in the correlates of PA between Canadian urban and rural youth. METHODS: The sample consisted of 1398 adolescents from 4 urban schools and 1290 adolescents from 4 rural schools. Mean age of the participants was 15.6 +/- 1.3 years. Hierarchical regression analyses were used to examine the association between self-reported PA and a number of demographic, psychological, behavioral, and social correlates. RESULTS: Common correlates between the 2 locations included gender (with girls being less active than boys) perceptions of athletic/physical ability, self-efficacy, interest in organized group activities, use of recreation time, and friends' and siblings' frequency of participation in PA. Active commuting to school and taking a physical education class were unique correlates of PA at the multivariate level in urban and rural students, respectively. Variance explained in PA ranged from 43% for urban school students to 38% for rural school students. CONCLUSIONS: Although more similarities than discrepancies were found in the correlates of PA between the 2 geographical locations, findings from this study strengthen the policies that argue for a coordinated multisector approach to the promotion of PA in youth, which include the family, school, and community.

A. Loukaitou-Sideris and J. E. Eck. (2007). Crime prevention and active living. American Journal of Health Promotion.

This paper addresses the question of whether crime is a barrier to active living and if it is, what can be done about it? The authors introduce a theoretical model that addresses how crime might influence physical activity behavior. The core components of the model are: situational characteristics, crime and disorder, fear of crime or disorder, and physical activity. These variables are thought to be moderated through psychological, demographic, environmental and other factors. Research questions that derive from the model are featured.


A. Loukaitou-Sideris, R. Liggett and H. G. Sung. (2007). Death on the crosswalk - A study of pedestrian-automobile collisions in Los Angeles. Journal Of Planning Education And Research.

This research explores the spatial distribution of pedestrian-automobile collisions in Los Angeles and analyzes the social and physical factors that affect the risk of getting involved in such collisions. More specifically, this Study investigates the influence of socio-demographic, land rise, density, urban form, and traffic characteristics on pedestrian collision rates. We first provide an exploratory spatial and statistical analysis of pedestrian collision data in the city of Los Angeles to identify preliminary relationships between the frequency of collisions and socio-demographic and land use characteristics at the census tract level. This aggregate level analysis points to major concentrations of pedestrian collision data which are used at a second stage of the research for more qualitative and detailed analysis of specific case studies of intersections with high frequency of pedestrian collisions.

M. Lounsbery, T. Bungum and N. Smith. (2007). Physical activity opportunity in K-12 public school settings: Nevada. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

OBJECTIVES: We examined the status of physical activity opportunity in Nevada K-12 public schools. The focus was on determining both prevalence and nature of existing programs as well as school administrators-perceived barriers to offering physical activity programs. METHODS: A 15 item questionnaire was used to assess prevalence and nature of programs as well as perceived barriers. RESULTS: Nevada school-age children do not have regular access to physical education. Excluding physical education, more than 30% of schools do not provide physical activity programming. Most existing programs are competitive sport related. In addition, as students matriculate through school, fewer program options and opportunities to participate throughout the school day are available. Lack of funds was the most frequently reported perceived barrier to offering physical activity programs. CONCLUSIONS: Opportunities to be physically active over the course of the school day are limited and as a result, hinder important national objectives for health-related outcomes.




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