Perceptions of the Built Environment and Support for Policies That Promote Physical Activity

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: To assess how perceptions of the community built environment influence support for community policies that promote physical activity (PA). Methods: A national cross-sectional survey assessed perceptions of the local built environment and support of community policies, including school and workplace policies, promoting PA. A random digit–dialed telephone survey was conducted in US counties selected on Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for high or low prevalence of obesity and inactivity. A total of 1208 subjects were interviewed, 642 from high-prevalence counties and 566 from low-prevalence counties. Analyses were stratified by county prevalence of obesity and inactivity (high or low). Linear models adjusted for covariates were constructed to assess the influence of built environment perceptions on policy support. Results: Perception of more destinations near the residence was associated with increased support for community policies that promote PA, including tax increases in low-prevalence (obesity and inactivity) counties (P < .01). Positive perception of the workplace environment was associated (P < .001) with increased support for workplace policies among those in high-, but not low-, prevalence counties. Conclusions: Support for community policies promoting PA varies by perception of the built environment, which has implications for policy change.

Gustat is with the Department of Epidemiology, Tulane Prevention Research Center, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA. Anderson is with the Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA. O’Malley is with the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA. Hu is with the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota School of Public Health, Minneapolis, MN. Tabak, Valko, and Eyler are with Brown School, Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO. Goins is with the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA. Litt is with the University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO.

Gustat (gustat@tulane.edu) is corresponding author.
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