Introduction to the Active Living Research Reference List 2007

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J. C. Lucove, S. L. Huston and K. R. Evenson. (2007). Workers' perceptions about worksite policies and environments and their association with leisure-time physical activity. American Journal of Health Promotion.

PURPOSE: To estimate the employed population's exposure to perceived worksite policies and environments hypothesized to promote physical activity and to determine their relationship to leisure-time physical activity. DESIGN: Cross-sectional, random-digit-dial telephone survey. SETTING: Community. SUBJECTS: Employed adults (n = 987) in six North Carolina counties. MEASURES: Outcomes included any leisure-time physical activity, recommended physical activity, and work-break physical activity. Perceived worksite policies and environments included on-site fitness facility at work, safe place to walk outside work, paid time for activity, subsidized health-club membership, and flexible work schedule. ANALYSIS: Descriptive statistics were used to describe the study population and exposure to perceived worksite policies and environments. Multivariable logistic regression was used to evaluate relationships between perceived worksite policies and environments and physical activity, controlling for age, race, sex, educational status, disability, and general health status. RESULTS: Various supportive worksite policies and environments were reported by 15% to 56% of employed participants. Associations between perceived worksite policies and environments and physical activity were strongest for having paid time for non-work-related physical activity, an on-site fitness facility at work, and subsidies for health clubs. Recommended activity was not associated with perceived worksite policies and environments. CONCLUSION: Worksite policies and environments are promising factors for future study in physical activity promotion. Studies should evaluate these relationships in other populations and explore measurement error in self-reported worksite policies and environments.

K. R. Ma and D. Banister. (2007). Urban spatial change and excess commuting. Environment And Planning A.

In this paper we revisit the excess-commuting technique and its links with urban form. The uncertainty in measurement is highlighted, as are the problems relating to changes in excess commuting over time. The measure of the theoretical maximum commute is proposed and added to the traditional excess-commuting measure so that the use of both the minimum and maximum levels can capture the concept of commuting potential. This measure is what we call the 'extended excess-commuting measure'. These concepts are tested through the use of a simulation exercise. As well as arguing for the inclusion of socioeconomic variables in analysis, we demonstrate that decentralisation in urban spatial structure can lead to either an increase or a decrease in average commuting distance. Some of the inconsistencies in the use of excess commuting can be reduced through the use of actual commutes together with the commuting range, as these factors in combination lead to a clearer understanding of commuting efficiency.

E. Macdonald. (2007). Urban waterfront promenades and physical activity by older adults: the case of Vancouver. Journal Of Architectural And Planning Research.

This paper reports on a research study that examined if and how older adults use urban waterfront promenades for physical activity. The research involved case studies of three waterfront promenades in Vancouver British Columbia. Research methods included field observations and surveys. The findings conclude that older adults use Vancouver waterfront promenades in significant numbers, overwhelmingly for walking; that more of them walk with others rather than alone; that nearness to home may be a determining factor as to which promenade they use; and that the most important environmental characteristics of promenades may be well-separated walking and biking paths, trees, shade when it hot, and sun when it cool.

P. G. Mackintosh. (2007). A bourgeois geography of domestic bicycling: Using public space responsibly in Toronto and Niagara-on-the-Lake, 1890-1900. Journal Of Historical Sociology.

Domestic bicycling emerged in the fin de siecle as a response to perceived violations of haute bourgeois public decorum and comportment. It promoted domestic, aestheticized and "womanly" bicycling and bicycling activities as alternatives to the anti-domestic bicycling behaviour demonstrated by reckless men and indecorous women. The domestic notion of responsible bicycling in public included the bicycle gymkhana, where the competition was not so much athletic as floral. Accordingly, Toronto's interest in the Niagara-on-the-Lake bicycle gymkhana demonstrates a progressive era impulse to substitute the chaotic with bourgeois constructions of the orderly.

E. Maibach. (2007). The influence of the media environment on physical activity: looking for the big picture. American Journal of Health Promotion.

The Influence of the Media Environment on Physical Activity: Looking for the Big Picture Media consumption is expected to continue to increase well into the future. With this in mind the author suggests opportunities to influence the media environment for the purposes of promoting physical activity. A research agenda focused on media consumption, media content, commercial considerations, promoting physical activity through the media, partnerships with industry, positioning, dissemination of proven methods, and environmental change is proposed.

K. R. Martin, B. Schoster, J. H. Shreffler, A. Meier and L. F. Callahan. (2007). Perceived barriers to physical activity among North Carolinians with arthritis: findings from a mixed-methodology approach. N C Med J.

BACKGROUND: A goal of the North Carolina Arthritis Plan is to reduce arthritis burden through regular physical activity. We identified community and personal factors that influence physical activity in individuals with arthritis. METHODS: In 2004 and 2005, 2479 individuals (53% self-reported arthritis) from 22 North Carolina communities completed a telephone survey (59.5% response rate) assessing health status, neighborhood characteristics, health attitudes, and demographic variables. Qualitative discussions (N=32) were conducted to further examine understanding of community and health and were enhanced with photographs. ANALYSIS: Descriptive analyses were conducted. A 2-sided binomial test (for each reason given for not being physically active) was used to test for significance between individuals with arthritis and the general population, using a Bonferroni test for multiple comparisons. Interviews and photographs were analyzed using qualitative software ATLAS.ti Version 5.0. RESULTS: Quantitative results show similar community-level reasons for physical inactivity (rural environment, heavy traffic, and lack of sidewalks) despite arthritis status. Yet personal reasons differed as individuals with arthritis more often cited physical inability and illness. In qualitative discussions, walking surfaces emerged as a primary barrier for those with arthritis. LIMITATIONS: Findings from this exploratory study may have limited generalization and warrant further study. CONCLUSIONS: The built environment and personal barriers should be considered when examining physical activity in individual with arthritis.

G. R. McCormack, B. Giles-Corti and M. Bulsara. (2007). Correlates of using neighborhood recreational destinations in physically active respondents. Journal of Physical Activity and Health.

BACKGROUND: This study examines the relationships between the availability and use of recreational destinations and physical activity. METHODS: Analysis included n = 1355 respondents. Associations between the density of free and pay-for-use recreational destinations, demographics, and use of free and pay-for-use recreational destinations within the neighborhood were examined, followed by associations with sufficient moderate and vigorous physical activity using generalized estimating equations. RESULTS: The likelihood of using a local pay recreational destination increased for each additional local pay facility (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.73) and was lower for those with motor vehicle access (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.99). The likelihood of using a local free destination increased for each additional local free facility (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.20) and was higher among women (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.44). Destination use was associated with both moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity. CONCLUSIONS: Increasing the density of neighborhood recreational destinations is associated with the use of facilities and participation in sufficient levels of physical activity.

G. R. McCormack, B. Giles-Corti and M. Bulsara. (2008). The relationship between destination proximity, destination mix and physical activity behaviors. Preventive Medicine.

BACKGROUND.: The presence and mix of destinations is an important aspect of the built environment that may encourage or discourage physical activity. This study examined the association between the proximity and mix of neighbourhood destinations and physical activity. METHODS.: Secondary analysis was undertaken on physical activity data from Western Australian adults (n=1394). TheSEata were linked with geographical information systems (GIS) data including the presence and the mix of destinations located within 400 and 1500 m from respondents' homes. Associations with walking for transport and recreation and vigorous physical activity were examined. RESULTS.: Access to post boxes, bus stops, convenience stores, newsagencies, shopping malls, and transit stations within 400 m (OR 1.63-5.00) and schools, transit stations, newsagencies, convenience stores and shopping malls within 1500 m (OR 1.75-2.38) was associated with participation in regular transport-related walking. A dose-response relationship between the mix of destinations and walking for transport was also found. Each additional destination within 400 and 1500 m resulted in an additional 12 and 11 min/fortnight spent walking for transport, respectively. CONCLUSION.: Proximity and mix of destinations appears strongly associated with walking for transport, but not walking for recreation or vigorous activity. Increasing the diversity of destinations may contribute to adults doing more transport-related walking and achieving recommended levels of physical activity.

N. C. McDonald. (2007). Active transportation to school - Trends among US schoolchildren, 1969-2001. American Journal Of Preventive Medicine.

Background: Rising rates of overweight children have focused attention on walking and biking to school as a means to increase children's physical activity levels. Despite this attention, there has been little documentation of trends in school travel over the past 30 years or analysis of what has caused the changes in mode choice for school trips. Methods: This article analyzes data from the 1969, 1977, 1983, 1990, 1995, and 2001 National Personal Transportation Survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation to document the proportion of students actively commuting to school in aggregate and by subgroups and analyze the relative influence of trip, child, and household characteristics across survey years. All analyses were done in 2006. Results: The National Personal Transportation Survey data show that in 1969, 40.7% (95% confidence interval [CI] = 37.9-43.5) of students walked or biked to school; by 2001, the proportion was 12.9% (95% CI = 11.8-13.9). Distance to school has increased over time and may account for half of the decline in active transportation to school. It also has the strongest influence on the decision to walk or bike across survey years. Conclusions: Declining rates of active transportation among school travelers represents a worrisome loss of physical activity. Policymakers should continue to support programs designed to encourage children to walk to school such as Safe Routes to School and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's KidsWalk. In addition, officials need to design policies that encourage schools to be placed within neighborhoods to ensure that the distance to school is not beyond an acceptable walking distance.

A. P. McGinn, K. R. Evenson, A. H. Herring, S. L. Huston and D. A. Rodriguez. (2007). Exploring associations between physical activity and perceived and objective measures of the built environment. Journal Of Urban Health-Bulletin Of The New York Academy Of Medicine.

The built environment may be responsible for making nonmotorized transportation inconvenient, resulting in declines in physical activity. However, few studies have assessed both the perceived and objectively measured environment in association with physical activity outcomes. The purpose of this study was to describe the associations between perceptions and objective measures of the built environment and their associations with leisure, walking, and transportation activity. Perception of the environment was assessed from responses to 1,270 telephone surveys conducted in Forsyth County, NC and Jackson, MS from January to July 2003. Participants were asked if high-speed cars, heavy traffic, and lack of crosswalks or sidewalks were problems in their neighborhood or barriers to physical activity. They were also asked if there are places to walk to instead of driving in their neighborhood. Speed, volume, and street connectivity were assessed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for both study areas. Locations of crashes were measured using GIS for the NC study area as well. Objective and perceived measures of the built environment were in poor agreement as calculated by kappa coefficients. Few associations were found between any of the physical activity outcomes and perception of speed, volume, or presence of sidewalks as problems in the neighborhood or as barriers to physical activity in regression analyses. Associations between perceptions of having places to walk to and presence of crosswalks differed between study sites. Several associations were found between objective measures of traffic volume, traffic speed, and crashes with leisure, walking, and transportation activity in Forsyth County, NC; however, in Jackson, MS, only traffic volume was associated with any of the physical activity outcomes. When both objective and perceived measures of the built environment were combined into the same model, we observed independent associations with physical activity; thus, we feel that evaluating both objective and perceived measures of the built environment may be necessary when examining the relationship between the built environment and physical activity.

A. P. McGinn, K. R. Evenson, A. H. Herring and S. L. Huston. (2007). The relationship between leisure, walking, and transportation activity with the natural environment. Health & Place.

The purpose of this study was to quantify the agreement between perceived and objective measures of the natural environment and to assess their associations with physical activity. Perception of the natural environment was obtained through survey data. Objective measures of weather and hills were created using Geographic Information Systems (GIs). When objective measures were compared to respondent's perceptions little agreement was found. Objective measures were not associated with any physical activity outcomes; however, several associations were seen between perceived measures and physical activity. These results indicate that researchers should consider perceptions of the natural environment when developing physical activity interventions. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

R. McKee, N. Mutrie, F. Crawford and B. Green. (2007). Promoting walking to school: results of a quasi-experimental trial. Journal Of Epidemiology And Community Health.

Study objective: To assess the impact of a combined intervention on children's travel behaviour, stage of behavioural change and motivations for and barriers to actively commuting to school. Design: A quasi-experimental trial involving pre- and post-intervention mapping of routes to school by active and inactive mode of travel and surveys of ``stage of behaviour change'' and motivations for and barriers to actively commuting to school. Intervention: The intervention school participated in a school-based active travel project for one school term. Active travel was integrated into the curriculum and participants used interactive travel-planning resources at home. The control school participated in before and after measurements but did not receive the intervention. Setting: Two primary schools in Scotland with similar socioeconomic and demographic profiles. Participants: Two classes of primary 5 children and their families and teachers. Main results: Post intervention, the mean distance travelled to school by walking by intervention children increased significantly from baseline, from 198 to 772 m (389% increase). In the control group mean distance walked increased from 242 to 285 m (17% increase). The difference between the schools was significant (t (38) = -4.679, p < 0.001 (95% confidence interval 2315 to 2795 m)). Post intervention, the mean distance travelled to school by car by intervention children reduced significantly from baseline, from 2018 to 933 m (57.5% reduction). The mean distance travelled to school by car by control children increased from baseline, from 933 to 947 m (1.5% increase). The difference in the change between schools was significant (t (32) = 4.282, p < 0.001 (95% confidence interval 445 to 1255 m)). Conclusions: Intervention was effective in achieving an increase in the mean distance travelled by active mode and a reduction in the mean distance travelled by inactive mode on school journey.

T. E. McMillan. (2007). The relative influence of urban form on a child's travel mode to school. Transportation Research Part A-Policy And Practice.

Walking and bicycling to school has decreased in recent years, while private vehicle travel has increased. Policies and programs focusing on urban form improvements such as Safe Routes to School were created to address this mode shift and possible related children's health issues, despite minimal research showing the influence of urban form on children's travel and health. This research examined: (1) the influence of objectively measured urban form on travel mode to school and; (2) the magnitude of influence urban form and non-urban form factors have on children's travel behavior. The results of the analysis support the hypothesis that urban form is important but not the sole factor that influences school travel mode choice. Other factors may be equally important such as perceptions of neighborhood safety and traffic safety, household transportation options, and social/cultural norms. Odds ratios indicate that the magnitude of influence of these latter factors is greater than that of urban form; however, model improvement tests found that urban form contributed significantly to model fit. This research provides evidence that urban form is an influential factor in non-motorized travel behavior and therefore is a possible intervention to target through programs such as Safe Routes to School. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

D. Mears. (2007). High school physical education and physical activity in young women. Perceptual And Motor Skills.

This study assessed if high school physical education experiences were related to physical activity behaviors of young women in college. Undergraduate women from three universities (N=949) were surveyed concerning their experiences in high school physical education and their physical activity in six areas, aquatics, individual activities, physical conditioning, outdoor adventure, rhythmic activities, and team activities. Analysis indicated that women who completed courses with a diverse curriculum containing content from four of the six categories investigated reported significantly more cardiovascular endurance activities and individual/team sports participation than respondents who completed courses with low curriculum diversity. Results indicate that providing diverse curricular experiences for girls in high school physical education is associated with higher physical activity as young adults.

A. T. Merchant, M. Dehghan and N. Akhtar-Danesh. (2007). Seasonal variation in leisure-time physical activity among Canadians. Canadian Journal of Public Health.

BACKGROUND: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality is higher in winter than summer, particularly in cold climates. Physical activity reduces CVD risk but climate impacts participation in physical activity. Canada has substantial climatic variation but its relation with physical activity is understudied. In this investigation, we evaluated the relation between seasonality and physical activity among Canadians. METHODS: We used public domain data from the Canadian Community Health Survey, Cycle 2.2 (CCHS 2.2), a representative, cross-sectional sample of free-living Canadians in 2004. Leisure-time physical activity was measured using a modified version of the Physical Activity Monitor that was validated. Season was determined by the time of the interview, i.e., Winter: January 1 to March 31, Spring: April 1 to June 30, Summer: July 1 to September 30, and Fall: October 1 to December 31. In all multivariate models, we adjusted for age, sex, education, and income adequacy. RESULTS: There were 20,197 persons aged 19 years and older in this analysis. In the winter, 64% of Canadians were inactive as compared with 49% in the summer. Total average daily energy expenditure was 31.0% higher in summer than winter after multivariate adjustment. Leisure-time physical activity was 86% more likely in the summer than winter (multivariate OR = 1.86, 95% CI 1.40, 2.45). The relation between seasonality and physical activity was weakest in Newfoundland and Labrador and stronger in Saskatchewan and British Columbia (p-value for interaction = 0.02). INTERPRETATION: Seasonality impacts physical activity patterns in Canada and varies across the provinces. This needs to be considered in physical activity programming.

Y. L. Michael, N. E. Carlson, C. Nagel and M. Bosworth. (2007). Places to walk: The role of neighborhood design on walking among older adults. American Journal Of Epidemiology.
K. L. Monda, P. Gordon-Larsen, J. Stevens and B. M. Popkin. (2007). China's transition: The effect of rapid urbanization on adult occupational physical activity. Social Science & Medicine.

China has recently undergone rapid social and economic change. Increases in urbanization have led to equally rapid shifts toward more sedentary occupations through the acquisition of new technology and transitions away from a mostly agricultural economy. Our purpose was to utilize a detailed measure of urbanicity comprising 10 dimensions of urban services and infrastructure to examine its effects on the occupational physical activity patterns of Chinese adults. Longitudinal data were from individuals aged 18-55 from the years 1991-1997 of the China Health and Nutrition Survey (N = 4376 men and 4384 women). Logistic multilevel regression analyses indicated that men had 68% greater odds, and women had 51% greater odds, of light versus heavy occupational activity given the mean change in urbanization over the 6-year period. Further, simulations showed that light occupational activity increased linearly with increasing urbanization. After controlling for individual-level predictors, community-level urbanization explained 54% and 40% of the variance in occupational activity for men and women, respectively. This study provides empirical evidence of the reduction in intensity of occupational activity with modernization. It is likely that urbanization will continue unabated in China and this is liable to lead to further transitions in the labor market resulting in additional reductions in work-related activity. Because occupational activity remains the major source of energy expenditure for adults, unless alternative forms are widely adopted, the Chinese population is at risk of dramatic increases in the numbers of overweight and obese individuals. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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