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Deborah A. Cohen, Scott Ashwood, Molly Scott, Adrian Overton, Kelly R. Evenson, Carolyn C. Voorhees, Ariane Bedimo-Rung and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Proximity to routine destinations is an important correlate of physical activity. We examined the association between distance from school and physical activity in adolescent girls.

Methods:

We mapped the addresses of 1554 sixth-grade girls who participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) Study and calculated the shortest distance from home to school along the street network. Using a hierarchical design we examined the association between MET-weighted moderate to vigorous physical activity (MW- MVPA) and distance to school, while controlling for potential confounders.

Results:

Distance to school was inversely associated with weekday MW- MVPA for middle school girls. For every mile the girls lived from their schools, they engaged in an average of 13 fewer MET-weighted minutes per week.

Conclusions:

Distance to school is inversely associated with MW-MVPA. The most adversely affected girls lived more than 5 miles from school. Time spent commuting could explain reduced time for physical activity.

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Hayley E. Christian, Carri Westgarth, Adrian Bauman, Elizabeth A. Richards, Ryan E. Rhodes, Kelly R. Evenson, Joni A. Mayer and Roland J. Thorpe Jr.

Background:

Dog walking is a strategy for increasing population levels of physical activity (PA). Numerous cross-sectional studies of the relationship between dog ownership and PA have been conducted. The purpose was to review studies comparing PA of dog owners (DO) to nondog owners (NDO), summarize the prevalence of dog walking, and provide recommendations for research.

Methods:

A review of published studies (1990−2010) examining DO and NDO PA and the prevalence of dog walking was conducted (N = 29). Studies estimating the relationship between dog ownership and PA were grouped to create a pointestimate using meta-analysis.

Results:

Most studies were conducted in the last 5 years, were cross-sectional, and sampled adults from Australia or the United States. Approximately 60% of DO walked their dog, with a median duration and frequency of 160 minutes/week and 4 walks/week, respectively. Meta-analysis showed DO engage in more walking and PA than NDO and the effect sizes are small to moderate (d = 0.26 and d = 0.16, respectively). Three studies provided evidence of a directional relationship between dog ownership and walking.

Conclusions:

Longitudinal and interventional studies would provide stronger causal evidence for the relationship between dog ownership and PA. Improved knowledge of factors associated with dog walking will guide intervention research.

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Amy Eyler, Tina Lankford, Jamie Chriqui, Kelly R. Evenson, Judy Kruger, Nancy Tompkins, Carolyn Voorhees, Susan Zieff, Semra Aytur and Ross Brownson

Background:

Trails provide opportunities for recreation, transportation and activity. The purpose of this article is to describe state legislation related to community trails, to analyze legislation content, and to evaluate legislation on inclusion of evidence-informed elements.

Methods:

State trail legislation from 2001 to 2008 was identified using online legislative databases. An analysis of evidence-informed elements included in the legislation was conducted. These elements included: funding, liability, accessibility, connectivity, and maintenance.

Results:

Of the total 991 trail bills, 516 (52.0%) were appropriations bills, of which 167 (32.2%) were enacted. We analyzed 475 (48%) nonappropriation trail bills of which 139 (29.3%) were enacted. The percentage of enactment of appropriations bills decreased over time while enactment of nonappropriations trail bills increased. Over half of the nonappropriations trail bills included at least 1 evidence-informed element, most commonly funding. Few bills contained liability, connectivity, accessibility, or maintenance.

Conclusions:

There is opportunity for providing evidence-informed information to policy-makers to potentially influence bill content. The number of bills with a funding element demonstrates that fiscal support for trails is an important policy lever that state legislatures may use to support trails. Lastly, trails should be considered in over-all state-level physical activity legislation to provide opportunities for communities to be active.

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Daniel A. Rodriguez, Gi-Hyoug Cho, John P. Elder, Terry L. Conway, Kelly R. Evenson, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Elizabeth Shay, Deborah Cohen, Sara Veblen-Mortenson, Julie Pickrell and Leslie Lytle

Background:

Studies that have combined accelerometers and global positioning systems (GPS) to identify walking have done so in carefully controlled conditions. This study tested algorithms for identifying walking trips from accelerometer and GPS data in free-living conditions. The study also assessed the accuracy of the locations where walking occurred compared with what participants reported in a diary.

Methods:

A convenience sample of high school females was recruited (N = 42) in 2007. Participants wore a GPS unit and an accelerometer, and recorded their out-of-school travel for 6 days. Split-sample validation was used to examine agreement in the daily and total number of walking trips with Kappa statistics and count regression models, while agreement in locations visited by walking was examined with geographic information systems.

Results:

Agreement varied based on the parameters of the algorithm, with algorithms exhibiting moderate to substantial agreement with self-reported daily (Kappa = 0.33−0.48) and weekly (Kappa = 0.41−0.64) walking trips. Comparison of reported locations reached by walking and GPS data suggest that reported locations are accurate.

Conclusions:

The use of GPS and accelerometers is promising for assessing the number of walking trips and the walking locations of adolescent females.

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Michael J. LaMonte, I-Min Lee, Eileen Rillamas-Sun, John Bellettiere, Kelly R. Evenson, David M. Buchner, Chongzhi Di, Cora E. Lewis, Dori E. Rosenberg, Marcia L. Stefanick and Andrea Z. LaCroix

Background: Limited data are available regarding the correlation between questionnaire and device-measured physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) in older women. Methods: We evaluated these correlations in 5,992 women, aged 63 and older, who completed the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) and Community Healthy Activities Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS) PA questionnaires and the CARDIA SB questionnaire prior to wearing a hip-worn accelerometer for 7 consecutive days. Accelerometer-measured total, light, and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), and total SB time were defined according to cutpoints established in a calibration study. Spearman coefficients were used to evaluate correlations between questionnaire and device measures. Results: Mean time spent in PA and SB was lower for questionnaire than accelerometer measures, with variation in means according to age, race/ethnicity, body mass index, and functional status. Overall, correlations between questionnaires and accelerometer measures were moderate for total PA, MVPA, and SB (r ≈ 0.20–0.40). Light intensity PA correlated weakly for WHI (r ≈ 0.01–0.06) and was variable for CHAMPS (r ≈ 0.07–0.22). Conclusion: Questionnaire and accelerometer estimates of total PA, MVPA, and SB have at best moderate correlations in older women and should not be assumed to be measuring the same behaviors or quantity of behavior. Light intensity PA is poorly measured by questionnaire. Because light intensity activities account for the largest proportion of daily activity time in older adults, and likely contribute to its health benefits, further research should investigate how to improve measurement of light intensity PA by questionnaires.

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Lesley Steinman, Mark Doescher, David Levinger, Cynthia Perry, Louise Carter, Amy Eyler, Semra Aytur, Angie L.I. Cradock, Kelly R. Evenson, Katie Heinrich, Jacqueline Kerr, Jill Litt, Yucel Severcan and Carolyn Voorhees

Background:

Recent research demonstrates the importance of targeting the built environment to support individual physical activity, particularly for people experiencing health disparities. Master plans to promote biking and/or pedestrians (BPMPs) are a potential method for environmental change. This descriptive study aims to provide a snapshot of plan attributes and better understand demographic, social and transportation characteristics of communities with BPMPs.

Methods:

We collected a census sample of BPMPs from 4 states. Population and commuting data were obtained from national statistics.

Results:

294 master plans were included, with most plans representing municipalities. 62% of plans targeted biking only, one-fifth targeted biking and walking, and 15% targeted walking only. The sampled locations have a similar demographic profile as the overall U.S. for median age and household income, people of color, high school education, and income inequality. The degree of racial diversity of sampled communities is slightly less than the U.S. average and the percentage of people who walk to work were slightly higher.

Conclusions:

Given that communities with master plans have a similar profile as the overall U.S., BPMPs could feasibly be spread to communities throughout the country. Further research is planned to describe BPMPs in detail toward informing future plan development.