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Exploring Associations Between Church-Based Social Support and Physical Activity

Mohamed Kanu, Elizabeth Baker, and Ross C. Brownson

Objective:

This study tested associations between church-based instrumental and informational social support and meeting physical activity guidelines.

Methods:

Cross-sectional data were analyzed for 1625 rural residents using logistic regression.

Results:

Associations were found between instrumental social support and performing some amount of physical activity but not between the 2 forms of support and meeting physical activity guidelines.

Conclusion:

Instrumental social support might help initiation of physical activity. Given that 54.1% of US adults get no leisure-time physical activity at the recommended minimum level, instrumental social support might be important in considering physical activity programs.

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Identifying and Measuring Urban Design Qualities Related to Walkability

Reid Ewing, Susan Handy, Ross C. Brownson, Otto Clemente, and Emily Winston

Background:

In active living research, measures used to characterize the built environment have been mostly gross qualities such as neighborhood density and park access. This project has developed operational definitions and measurement protocols for subtler urban design qualities believed to be related to walkability.

Methods:

Methods included: 1) recruiting an expert panel; 2) shooting video clips of streetscapes; 3) rating urban design qualities of streetscapes by the expert panel; 4) measuring physical features of streetscapes from the video clips; 5) testing inter-rater reliability of physical measurements and urban design quality ratings; 6) statistically analyzing relationships between physical features and urban design quality ratings, 7) selecting of qualities for operationalization, and 8) developing of operational definitions and measurement protocols for urban design qualities based on statistical relationships.

Results:

Operational definitions and measurement protocols were developed for five of nine urban design qualities: imageability, visual enclosure, human scale, transparency, and complexity.

Conclusions:

A field survey instrument has been developed, tested in the field, and further refined for use in active living research.

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A Multilevel Analysis of Change in Neighborhood Walking Activity in Older Adults

Fuzhong Li, K. John Fisher, and Ross C. Brownson

The article reports on a multilevel analysis conducted to examine change in neighborhood walking activity over a 12-month period in a community-based sample of 28 neighborhoods of 303 older adults age 65 and over. The study employed a multilevel (residents nested within neighborhoods) and longitudinal (4 repeated measures over 1 year) design and a multilevel analysis of change and predictors of change in neighborhood walking activity. Results indicated a significant neighborhood effect, with neighborhood-level walking characterized by a downward trajectory over time. Inclusion of baseline variables using selected perceived neighborhood-level social- and physical-environment measures indicated that neighborhoods with safe walking environments and access to physical activity facilities had lower rates of decline in walking activity. The findings provide preliminary evidence of neighborhood-level change and predictors of change in walking activity in older adults. They also suggest the importance of analyzing change in physical activity in older adults from a multilevel or macrolevel framework.

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Objective Measures of Physical Activity in Rural Communities: Factors Associated With a Valid Wear and Lessons Learned

Amanda Gilbert, Alan Beck, Natalicio Serrano, and Ross C. Brownson

Background: Compared with urban/suburban counterparts, rural communities experience lower rates of physical activity (PA) and higher rates of chronic disease. Promoting PA is important for disease prevention but requires reliable and valid measurement of PA. However, little is known about effectively collecting objective PA data in rural communities. Using data from a cluster randomized trial (Heartland Moves), which aims to increase PA in rural Missouri, this study explored factors associated with successful objective PA data collection and presents lessons learned. Methods: Baseline survey and accelerometry data were collected through Heartland Moves (n = 368) from August 2019 to February 2021, in southeast Missouri. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were used to explore factors (demographics, subjective PA, and SMS reminders) associated with valid wear of PA devices. Results: Overall, 77% had valid wears. Participants who were not married (odds ratio [OR] 0.48, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30–0.79) and those living alone (OR 0.49, 95% CI, 0.30–0.81) were less likely to have valid wears. Participants who met PA guidelines (OR 1.69, 95% CI, 1.03–2.75) or received SMS reminders (OR 3.25; 95% CI, 1.97–5.38) were more likely to have valid wears. Conclusions: Results are supported by lessons learned, including importance of communication (SMS reminders), accessing hard-to-reach groups (living alone), and need to adapt during data collection.

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Communicating Prevention Messages to Policy Makers: The Role of Stories in Promoting Physical Activity

Katherine A. Stamatakis, Timothy D. McBride, and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

While effective interventions to promote physical activity have been identified, efforts to translate these interventions into policy have lagged behind. To improve the translation of evidence into policy, researchers and public health practitioners need to consider new ways for communicating health promoting messages to state and local policymakers.

Methods:

In this article, we describe issues related to the translation of evidence supporting physical activity promotion, and offer some communication approaches and tools that are likely to be beneficial in translating research to policy.

Results:

We discuss the use of narrative (ie, stories) and describe its potential role in improving communication of research in policy-making settings. In addition, we provide an outline for the development and design of policy briefs on physical activity, and for how to target these briefs effectively to policy-oriented audiences.

Conclusions:

Improvements in researchers' and practitioners' abilities to translate the evidence they generate into high-quality materials for policy makers can greatly enhance efforts to enact policies that promote physical activity.

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Research on Physical Activity and Health: Where Is Latin America?

Pedro C. Hallal, Diana C. Parra, Mario R. Azevedo, Michael Pratt, and Ross C. Brownson

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State Legislation Related to Increasing Physical Activity: 2006–2012

Amy A. Eyler, Elizabeth Budd, Gabriela J. Camberos, Yan Yan, and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

Strategies to improve physical activity prevalence often include policy and environmental changes. State-level policies can be influential in supporting access and opportunities for physical activity in schools and communities. The purpose of this study was to explore the prevalence of state legislation related to physical activity and identify the correlates of enactment of this legislation.

Methods:

An online legislative database was used to collect bills from 50 states in the U.S. from 2006 to 2012 for 1010 topics related to physical activity. Bills were coded for content and compiled into a database with state-level variables (eg, obesity prevalence). With enactment status as the outcome, bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted.

Results:

Of the 1,542 bills related to physical activity introduced, 30% (N = 460) were enacted. Bills on public transportation and trails were more likely to be enacted than those without these topics. Primary sponsorship by the Republican Party, bipartisan sponsorship, and mention of specific funding amounts were also correlates of enactment.

Conclusion:

Policy surveillance of bills and correlates of enactment are important for understanding patterns in legislative support for physical activity. This information can be used to prioritize advocacy efforts and identify ways for research to better inform policy.

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Cross-Sectional Associations of Health-Related Quality of Life Measures With Selected Factors: A Population-Based Sample in Recife, Brazil

Jesus Soares, Eduardo J. Simões, Luiz Roberto Ramos, Michael Pratt, and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

We used data from a random telephone survey of 2045 adults in Recife, Brazil to investigate the associations of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with selected factors.

Methods:

We generated odds ratios of 4 HRQoL measures (perception of overall health, mentally unhealthy days, physically unhealthy days, and physically and mentally unhealthy days impeding usual activities) by levels of environmental factors (number of destinations, neighborhood aesthetics, neighborhood crime safety, neighborhood traffic interference, and neighborhood walkability), physical activity behavior, and participation in the Academia da Cidade Program (ACP).

Results:

Perception of overall health was associated with age, gender, education, body mass index (BMI) level, chronic disease, and having heard or seen an ACP activity. Mentally unhealthy days were associated with age, sex, BMI level, neighborhood aesthetics, and neighborhood crime safety. Physically unhealthy days were associated with age, sex, chronic diseases, leisure time physical activity, and neighborhood crime safety, and neighborhood traffic interference. Physically and mentally unhealthy days impeding usual activities were associated with chronic disease neighborhood crime safety, and traffic interference.

Conclusions:

The associations of HRQoL with environmental factors and health promoting programs may have public health policy implications and highlight the need for additional research into HRQoL in Brazil.

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Promoting Physical Activity Through Community-Wide Policies and Planning: Findings From Curitiba, Brazil

Rodrigo S. Reis, Pedro C. Hallal, Diana C. Parra, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Ross C. Brownson, Michael Pratt, Christine M. Hoehner, and Luiz Ramos

Background:

Community programs have been suggested to be an important and promising strategy for physical activity (PA) promotion. Limited evidence is available regarding knowledge of and participation in these programs in Latin America.

Objective:

To describe participation in and knowledge of community PA programs and to explore associations with leisure-time PA in the city of Curitiba, Brazil.

Methods:

A cross sectional telephone survey was conducted among adults in Curitiba, Brazil (n = 2097). The International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to determine levels of PA, and specific questions were used to evaluate the extent to which respondents knew about or participated in the programs conducted by the municipality. Logistic regression was used to assess the meeting of PA recommendations in leisure time based on program knowledge and participation.

Results:

Knowledge of PA programs was high (91.6%) and 5.6% of population participated in the programs. After adjusting for individual characteristics, exposure to Curitiba's PA community programs was associated with leisure-time PA (POR = 2.9, 95% CI = 2.9−3.0) and walking for leisure (POR = 2.4; 95% CI = 2.3−2.4). The associations were stronger among men than among women.

Conclusions:

Knowledge and participation in Curitiba's community PA programs were associated with meeting recommended levels of PA in leisure time.

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Using Observational Methods to Evaluate Public Open Spaces and Physical Activity in Brazil

Adriano Akira Ferreira Hino, Rodrigo S. Reis, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Diana C. Parra, Ross C. Brownson, and Rogerio C. Fermino

Background:

Open public spaces have been identified as important facilities to promote physical activity (PA) at the community level. The main goals of this study are to describe open public spaces user's characteristics and to explore to what extent these characteristics are associated with PA behavior.

Methods:

A system of direct observation was used to evaluate the PA levels on parks and squares (smaller parks) and users's characteristics (gender and age). The 4 parks and 4 squares observed were selected from neighborhoods with different socioeconomic status and environmental characteristics. The settings were observed 3 times a day, 6 days per week, during 2 weeks.

Results:

More men than women were observed in parks (63.1%) and squares (70.0%) as well as more adults and adolescents than older adults and children. Users were more physically active in parks (men = 34.1%, women = 36.1%) than in squares (men = 25.5%, women 22.8%).

Conclusions:

The characteristics of public open spaces may affect PA in the observed places. Initiatives to improve PA levels in community settings should consider users' characteristics and preferences to be more effective and reach a larger number of people.