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Robin A. McKinnon, Heather R. Bowles and Matthew J. Trowbridge

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Lindsey Cox, Victoria Berends, James F. Sallis, Jessica Marie St. John, Betsy McNeil, Martin Gonzalez and Peggy Agron

Background:

Most youth are not meeting physical activity guidelines, and schools are a key venue for providing physical activity. School districts can provide physical activity opportunities through the adoption, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies. This paper reports results of a 2009 survey of California school governance leaders on the barriers and opportunities to providing school-based physical activity and strategies to promote adoption of evidence-based policies.

Methods:

California school board members (n = 339) completed an 83 item online survey about policy options, perceptions, and barriers to improving physical activity in schools.

Results:

Board members’ highest rated barriers to providing physical activity were budget concerns, limited time in a school day, and competing priorities. The key policy opportunities to increase physical activity were improving the quantity and quality of physical education, integrating physical activity throughout the school day, supporting active transportation to/from school, providing access to physical activity facilities during nonschool hours, and integrating physical activity into before/after school programs.

Conclusions:

Survey findings were used to develop policy resources and trainings for school governance leaders that provide a comprehensive approach to improving physical activity in schools.

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Monica A.F. Lounsbery, Thomas L. McKenzie, Stewart Trost and Nicole J. Smith

Background:

Evidence-based physical education (EBPE) programs have increased physical activity (PA) by as much as 18%, yet widespread adoption has not occurred. Understanding school facilitators and barriers to PE should prove useful to EBPE dissemination efforts.

Methods:

Pairs of principals and PE teachers from 154 schools (75 Adopters and 79 Non-Adopters) from 34 states completed questionnaires. Differences between Adopter and Non-Adopter schools were tested using t tests or Wilcoxon Signed Rank Tests and chi-square analyses.

Results:

Principals and teachers reported distinct PE curriculum adoption decision making roles, but few viewed themselves as very involved in program evaluation. Teachers in Adopter schools were more satisfied with PE program outcomes and had greater involvement in teacher evaluation and program decision making. Compared with teachers, principals were generally more satisfied with their school’s PE program outcomes and did not share the same perceptions of PE barriers. However, principals also demonstrated a general lack of PE program familiarity.

Conclusions:

To facilitate EBPE adoption, dissemination efforts should target both principals and PE teachers. Increasing principal’s knowledge may be instrumental in addressing some teacher perceptions of barriers to PE. Strategic advocacy efforts, including targeting policies that require PE program evaluation, are needed.

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Deanna M. Hoelscher, Andrew Springer, Tiffni H. Menendez, Peter W. Cribb and Steven H. Kelder

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Eboneé N. Butler, Anita M.H. Ambs, Jill Reedy and Heather R. Bowles

Background:

Examining relationships between features of the built environment and physical activity is achievable with geographic information systems technology (GIS). The purpose of this paper is to review the literature to identify GIS measures that can be considered for inclusion in national public health surveillance efforts. In the absence of a universally agreed upon framework that integrates physical, social, and cultural aspects of the environment, we used a multidimensional model of access to synthesize the literature.

Methods:

We identified 29 studies published between 2005 and 2009 with physical activity outcomes that included 1 or more built environment variables measured using GIS. We sorted built environment measures into 5 dimensions of access: accessibility, availability, accommodation, affordability, and acceptability.

Results:

Geospatial land-use data, street network data, environmental audits, and commercial databases can be used to measure the availability, accessibility, and accommodation dimensions of access. Affordability and acceptability measures rely on census and self-report data.

Conclusions:

GIS measures have been included in studies investigating the built environment and physical activity, although few have examined more than 1 construct of access. Systematic identification and collection of relevant GIS measures can facilitate collaboration and accelerate the advancement of research on the built environment and physical activity.

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Kathryn M. Parker, Jeanette Gustat and Janet C. Rice

Background:

People are more physically active in neighborhoods that are well designed for walking and bicycling. Building infrastructure for safer cycling is one way to promote physical activity. On-road bike lanes are one type of infrastructure hypothesized to positively impact levels of cycling. The first on-street bike lane was painted in New Orleans, LA during the spring of 2008.

Methods:

In November of 2007 and again in November 2008, trained observers conducted manual counts of cyclists riding on St. Claude Avenue in New Orleans, LA. The data collected included the number of men, women, adults, and children riding a bicycle with traffic, against traffic, and on sidewalks.

Results:

Data showed a 57% increase in the average number of riders per day (P < .001). There was a 133% increase among adult female riders (P < .001) and a 44% increase among adult male riders (P < .001). The percentage of cyclists riding in the correct direction, with the flow of traffic, increased from 73% to 82% (P < .001).

Conclusions:

Bike lanes can have a positive impact in creating a healthy physical environment. Future research should include other streets for comparison purposes and surveys to determine whether riders are substituting biking for nonactive forms of transportation.

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Jonathan M. Casper, Jason N. Bocarro, Michael A. Kanters and Myron F. Floyd

Background:

Organized sport is viewed as a viable medium for promoting more physical activity among youth. However, participation in youth sport declines significantly among both boys and girls during their middle school years. This study examined middle school students’ perceived constraints to sport participation.

Methods:

Middle school students from 4 schools (6th−8th grade, N = 2465) completed a web based survey (97.3% response rate). Descriptive analysis, t tests, and ANOVA were used to assess extent of perceived constraints and differences among demographic and sport participation level subgroups.

Results:

The most salient constraint perceived by respondents was time, while knowledge was perceived as the lowest among the overall sample. Significant (P < .01) differences in perceived constraints were found among all comparisons groups. Girls, Latinos, lower SES students, and students who did not play sports reported more constraints than respective comparisons groups.

Discussion:

The sociodemographic characteristics of middle school students appear to be a significant factor in their perception of constraints to sport participation. Identifying constraints associated with sport participation can enable policy-makers and administrators to be more deliberate in channeling resources.

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Rebecca E. Lee, Scherezade K. Mama, Kristen P. McAlexander, Heather Adamus and Ashley V. Medina

Background:

In the US, public housing developments are typically located in lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods that may have poorer quality street level conditions, placing residents in neighborhoods that are less supportive for physical activity (PA). This study investigated the relationship of detailed, objectively assessed street-level pedestrian features with self-reported and measured PA in African American public housing residents.

Methods:

Every street segment (N = 2093) within an 800 m radius surrounding each housing development (N = 12) was systematically assessed using the Pedestrian Environment Data Scan (PEDS). Participants completed an interviewer administered International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) Short Form and wore a pedometer for 1 week.

Results:

Women reported significantly less vigorous (mean = 1955 vs. 2896 METs), moderate (mean = 733 vs. 1309 mets), walking (mean = 1080 vs. 1376 METs), and total (mean = 3768 vs. 5581 METs) PA on the IPAQ compared with men (all P <.05). Women took fewer pedometer steps per day (M = 3753 vs. 4589) compared with men, but this was not statistically significant. Regression analyses showed that for women, lower speed limits were associated with vigorous; higher street segment density was associated with more moderate PA; lower speed limits, fewer crossing aids, and more lanes were associated with more walking; and, fewer lanes was associated with more overall PA. For men, fewer sidewalk connections were associated with more moderate PA; lower speed limits were associated with more walking; and, lower speed limits was associated with more overall PA.

Conclusions:

Neighborhood factors influence physical activity; in particular, lower speed limits appear most commonly linked with increased physical activity in both men and women.

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Meg Cheever

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Genevieve F. Dunton, Yue Liao, Stephen Intille, Jennifer Wolch and Mary Ann Pentz

Background:

This study used real-time electronic surveys delivered through mobile phones, known as Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA), to determine whether level and experience of leisure-time physical activity differ across children’s physical and social contexts.

Methods:

Children (N = 121; ages 9 to 13 years; 52% male, 32% Hispanic/Latino) participated in 4 days (Fri.–Mon.) of EMA during nonschool time. Electronic surveys (20 total) assessed primary activity (eg, active play/sports/exercise), physical location (eg, home, outdoors), social context (eg, friends, alone), current mood (positive and negative affect), and enjoyment. Responses were time-matched to the number of steps and minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; measured by accelerometer) in the 30 minutes before each survey.

Results:

Mean steps and MVPA were greater outdoors than at home or at someone else’s house (all P < .05). Steps were greater with multiple categories of company (eg, friends and family together) than with family members only or alone (all P < .05). Enjoyment was greater outdoors than at home or someone else’s house (all P < .05). Negative affect was greater when alone and with family only than friends only (all P < .05).

Conclusion:

Results describing the value of outdoor and social settings could inform context-specific interventions in this age group.