Changing Social and Built Environments to Promote Physical Activity: Recommendations from Low Income, Urban Women

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Middle age and older (mean = 58.7 y), racial/ethnic minority women report low levels of physical activity. Recommendations to change the social and built environments to promote physical activity in this group are underdeveloped. Two research questions guided this study: What environmental changes are recommended by racial/ethnic minority women? What policies are related to the environmental changes?


The findings from nine Nominal Group Technique sessions with 45 subjects were analyzed.


More police protection, cleaner streets, removal of drugs from streets, more street lights, walking groups, and free gyms were prioritized by subjects as the most important recommendations. The relevant policies included municipal, police department, sanitation department, public works, and transportation department.


Racial/ethnic minority women living in low income, urban areas recommend improvements that affect overall quality of life. Meeting basic needs may be a prerequisite for use of physical activity resources.

Taylor and Volding are with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030. Sallis is with San Diego State University, San Diego, CA 92182. Lees is with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Hepworth is with the University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721. Feliz is with the SilverSneakers Fitness Program, Tempe, AZ 85284. Cassels and Tobin are with the Clinical Directors Network, New York, NY 10018.