Evaluating a Brief Self-Report Measure of Neighborhood Environments for Physical Activity Research and Surveillance: Physical Activity Neighborhood Environment Scale (PANES)

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Neighborhood environment attributes of walkability and access to recreation facilities have been related to physical activity and weight status, but most self-report environment measures are lengthy. The 17-item PANES (Physical Activity Neighborhood Environment Scale) was developed to be comprehensive but brief enough for use in multipurpose surveys. The current study evaluated test-retest and alternate-form reliability of PANES items compared with multi-item subscales from the longer NEWS-A (Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale—Abbreviated).


Participants were 291 adults recruited from neighborhoods that varied in walkability in 3 US cities. Surveys were completed twice with a 27-day interval.


Test-retest ICCs for PANES items ranged from .52 to .88. Spearman correlations for the PANES single item vs NEWS-A subscale comparisons ranged from .27 to .81 (all P < .01).


PANES items related to land use mix, residential density, pedestrian infrastructure, aesthetic qualities, and safety from traffic and crime were supported by correlations with NEWS-A subscales. Access to recreation facilities and street connectivity items were not supported. The brevity of PANES allows items to be included in studies or surveillance systems to expand knowledge about neighborhood environments.

Sallis, Kerr, and Carlson are with the Dept of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Norman is with the Dept of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA. Saelens is with the Dept of Pediatrics, University of Washington, and the Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Durant is with the Dept of Pediatrics, University of Alabama at Birmingham. Ainsworth is with the Dept of Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University, Mesa, AZ.