Crime is one aspect of the environment that can act as a barrier to physical activity. The goals of this study were to (1) compare measures of perceived crime with observed crime and (2) examine the association between the independent and combined effects of objective and perceived crime on physical activity.
Perceived crime and physical activity were assessed in 1659 persons via telephone survey. Crime was objectively measured in a subset of 303 survey participants.
For all types of crime, there was low agreement between objective and perceived measures. Both perceived and objectively measured crime were independently associated with leisure activities.
This study suggests that perceptions and objective measures of crime are both important correlates of leisure physical activity. Evaluating both measures is necessary when examining the relationship between crime and physical activity to develop interventions that will most influence leisure physical activity levels.
McGinn is with the Dept of Epidemiology and Population Health, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461. Evenson and Huston are with the Dept of Epidemiology, Herring the Dept of Biostatistics, and Rodriguez the Dept of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599. Huston is also with the Cardiovascular Health Unit, North Carolina Dept of Health and Human Services, Raleigh, NC 27699-1915.