Physical Activity, Overweight, and Perceptions of Neighborhood Environments Among Portuguese Girls

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

The purpose of this study was 1) to compare physical activity levels according to body-mass index; 2) to determine which, if any, neighborhood perceived attributes were related to overweight.

Methods:

The sample comprised 610 girls age 14.7 ± 1.6 y. Girls were grouped into normal weight and overweight. Environmental variables and physical activity were assessed by questionnaire.

Results:

No significant differences were found in physical activity levels between normal weight and overweight girls. Logistic regression analysis revealed that girls who agreed that “there is so much traffic on the streets that it makes it unpleasant to walk in the neighborhood” were more likely to be overweight (OR = 1.78; 95% CI 1.10 to 2.89).

Conclusion:

The study found no relationship between perceptions of the environment and overweight among Portuguese girls, except for perceptions of security for walking in the neighborhood.

The authors are with the Research Centre in Physical Activity Health and Leisure, Faculty of Sport Sciences, University of Porto, Porto 4200-450, Portugal.