The U.S. Community Guide to Preventive Services strongly recommends changes in urban design, land use and accessibility to increase physical activity. To achieve these goals, policy change is often needed. This study assessed attitudes of decision makers in Hawaii to determine if physical activity related issues are among their priorities.
State and county officials (n = 179) were mailed surveys. Respondents listed the three most important problems (open-ended) in Hawaii and rated the importance of 23 specified problems, of which six directly related to physical activity.
The survey was completed by 126 (70.4%) respondents. The most frequently mentioned categories for the open-ended questions were affordable housing, environment/sustainability, sprawl/traffic/population growth, and healthcare. Among the closed-ended physical activity related items, increasing traffic was ranked highest (43.9%) and fourth overall. Less than 12% of decision makers rated other physical activity issues as important.
Future work is needed to increase the visibility and importance of physical activity related issues among policymakers.
Maddock and Heinrich are with the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Reger-Nash, Leyden, and Bias are with West Virginia University.