Association Between Perceived Environmental Attributes and Physical Activity Among Adults in Recife, Brazil

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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To evaluate the association between perceived environmental factors and leisure-time and transport-related physical activity.


A random-digit-dialing telephone cross-sectional survey in Recife, Brazil, was conducted among individuals aged 16 years or older (n = 2046). Leisure-time and transport-related physical activity were measured using the long version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Three outcome variables were used: leisure-time physical activity (min/wk), transport-related physical activity (min/wk), and walking for leisure (min/wk). A cutoff of 150 min/wk was used for all outcome variables. The environmental module of the questionnaire was based on the short version of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (A-NEWS), and included 12 environmental items.


The proportions of subjects reaching the 150-minutes per week threshold were 30.6% for leisure-time physical activity, 26.6% for transport-related physical activity and 18.2% for walking for leisure. Lack of sidewalks and low access to recreational facilities were associated with a lower likelihood of performing 150 minutes per week or more of leisure-time physical activity. Lack of sidewalks was associated with low levels of walking for leisure. Neighborhood aesthetics was inversely associated with transport-related physical activity.


Lack of sidewalks and low access to recreational facilities were predictors of low levels of leisure-time physical activity, suggesting that policy strategies aimed at improving these environmental features may be warranted.

Hallal is with the Post-graduate Program in Epidemiology, Federal University of Pelotas, Brazil. Reis is with the Pontiff Catholic University of Parana, Curitiba, Brazil, and the Universidade Federal do Paraná, Brazil. Brownson and Parra are with the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis. Brownson and Hoehner are with the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis. Simões is with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.