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Gavin R. McCormack, Christine M. Friedenreich, Billie Giles-Corti, Patricia K. Doyle-Baker, and Alan Shiell

Background:

The built and social environments may contribute to physical activity motivations and behavior. We examined the extent to which the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) mediated the association between neighborhood walkability and walking.

Methods:

Two random cross-sectional samples (n = 4422 adults) completed telephone interviews capturing walking-related TPB variables (perceived behavioral control (PBC), attitudes, subjective norm, intention). Of those, 2006 completed a self-administered questionnaire capturing walkability, social support (friends, family, dog ownership), and neighborhood-based transportation (NTW) and recreational walking (NRW). The likelihood of undertaking 1) any vs. none and 2) sufficient vs. insufficient levels (≥150 vs. <150 minutes/week) of NTW and NWR, in relation to walkability, social support, and TPB was estimated.

Results:

Any and sufficient NTW were associated with access to services, connectivity, residential density, not owning a dog (any NTW only), and friend and family support. Any and sufficient NRW were associated with neighborhood aesthetics (any NRW only), dog ownership, and friend and family support. PBC partially mediated the association between access to services and NTW (any and sufficient), while experiential attitudes partially mediated the association between neighborhood aesthetics and any NRW.

Conclusions:

Interventions that increase positive perceptions of the built environment may motivate adults to undertake more walking.

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Jerome N. Rachele, Vincent Learnihan, Hannah M. Badland, Suzanne Mavoa, Gavin Turrell, and Billie Giles-Corti

Background: There is growing urgency for higher quality evidence to inform policy. This study developed geographic information system spatial measures based on land use and transport policies currently used in selected Australian states to assess which, if any, of these measures were associated with walking for transport. Methods: Overall, 6901 participants from 570 neighborhoods in Brisbane, Australia, were included. Participants reported their minutes of walking for transport in the previous week. After a review of state-level land use and transport policies relevant to walking for transport across Australia, 7 geographic information system measures were developed and tested based on 9 relevant policies. Data were analyzed using multilevel multinomial logistic regression. Results: Greater levels of walking for transport were associated with more highly connected street networks, the presence of public transport stops, and having at least 2 public transport services per hour. Conversely, neighborhoods with shorter cul-de-sac lengths had lower levels of walking for transport. There was no evidence of associations between walking for transport and street block lengths less than 240 m or traffic volumes. Conclusions: These findings highlight the need for urban design and transport policies developed by governments to be assessed for their impact on transport-related physical activity.

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Gavin R. McCormack, Alan Shiell, Patricia K. Doyle-Baker, Christine Friedenreich, Bev Sandalack, and Billie Giles-Corti

Background:

Capturing neighborhood-specific physical activity is necessary to advance understanding of the relations between neighborhood walkability and physical activity. This study examined the test–retest reliability of previously developed items (from the Neighborhood Physical Activity Questionnaire) for capturing setting-specific physical activity among Canadian adults.

Methods:

Randomly sampled adults (N = 117) participated in 2 telephone interviews 2 to 5 days apart. Respondents were asked a series of items capturing frequency and duration of transportation-related walking, recreational walking, and moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity undertaken inside and outside the neighborhood in a usual week. The test–test reliability of reported physical activity levels were then examined using intraclass and Spearman’s rank correlations, kappa coefficients, and overall agreement.

Results:

Participation, frequency, and the duration of transportation-related and recreational walking and vigorous-intensity physical activity inside and outside the neighborhood showed moderate to excellent test–retest reliability. Moderate reliability was found for moderate-intensity physical activity undertaken inside (k = .48; ICC frequency = .38; ICC duration = .39) and outside (k = .51; ICC frequency = .79; ICC duration = .31) the neighborhood.

Conclusions:

Neighborhood-specific physical activity items administered by telephone interview are reliable and are therefore appropriate for use in future studies examining neighborhood walk-ability and physical activity.

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Gavin Turrell, Michele Haynes, Martin O’Flaherty, Nicola Burton, Katrina Giskes, Billie Giles-Corti, and Lee-Ann Wilson

Background:

Further development of high quality measures of neighborhood perceptions will require extensions and refinements to our existing approaches to reliability assessment. This study examined the test-retest reliability of perceptions of the neighborhood environment by socioeconomic status (SES).

Methods:

Test and retest surveys were conducted using a mail survey method with persons aged 40 to 65 years (n = 222, 78.2% response rate). SES was measured using the respondent’s education level and the socioeconomic characteristics of their neighborhood of residence. Reliability was assessed using intraclass correlations (ICC) estimated with random coefficient models.

Results:

Overall, the 27 items had moderate-to-substantial reliability (ICC = 0.41−0.74). Few statistically significant differences were found in ICC between the education groups or neighborhoods, although the ICCs were significantly larger among the low SES for items that measured perceptions of neighborhood greenery, interesting things to see, litter, traffic volume and speed, crime, and rowdy youth on the streets.

Conclusion:

For the majority of the items, poor reliability and subsequent exposure misclassification is no more or less likely among low educated respondents and residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods. Estimates of the association between neighborhood perceptions and physical activity therefore are likely to be similarly precise irrespective of the respondent’s socioeconomic background.

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Sylvia Titze, Billie Giles-Corti, Matthew W. Knuiman, Terri J. Pikora, Anna Timperio, Fiona C. Bull, and Kimberly van Niel

Background:

This study investigated the relationship between individual and neighborhood environmental factors and cycling for transport and for recreation among adults living in Perth, Western Australia.

Methods:

Baseline cross-sectional data from 1813 participants (40.5% male; age range 18 to 78 years) in the RESIDential Environment (RESIDE) project were analyzed. The questionnaire included information on cycling behavior and on cycling-specific individual, social environmental, and neighborhood environmental attributes. Cycling for transport and recreation were dichotomized as whether or not individuals cycled in a usual week.

Results:

Among the individual factors, positive attitudes toward cycling and perceived behavioral control increased the odds of cycling for transport and for recreation. Among the neighborhood environmental attributes, leafy and attractive neighborhoods, access to bicycle/walking paths, the presence of traffic slowing devices and having many 4-way street intersections were positively associated with cycling for transport. Many alternative routes in the local area increased the odds of cycling for recreation.

Conclusions:

Effective strategies for increasing cycling (particularly cycling for transport) may include incorporating supportive environments such as creating leafy and attractive neighborhood surroundings, low traffic speed, and increased street connectivity, in addition to campaigns aimed at strengthening positive attitudes and confidence to cycle.

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Hayley E. Christian, Charlotte D. Klinker, Karen Villanueva, Matthew W. Knuiman, Sarah A. Foster, Stephan R. Zubrick, Mark Divitini, Lisa Wood, and Billie Giles-Corti

Background:

Relationships between context-specific measures of the physical and social environment and children’s independent mobility to neighborhood destination types were examined.

Methods:

Parents in RESIDE’s fourth survey reported whether their child (8–15 years; n = 181) was allowed to travel without an adult to school, friend’s house, park and local shop. Objective physical environment measures were matched to each of these destinations. Social environment measures included neighborhood perceptions and items specific to local independent mobility.

Results:

Independent mobility to local destinations ranged from 30% to 48%. Independent mobility to a local park was less likely as the distance to the closest park (small and large size) increased and less likely with additional school grounds (P < .05). Independent mobility to school was less likely as the distance to the closest large park increased and if the neighborhood was perceived as unsafe (P < .05). Independent mobility to a park or shops decreased if parenting social norms were unsupportive of children’s local independent movement (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Independent mobility appears dependent upon the specific destination being visited and the impact of neighborhood features varies according to the destination examined. Findings highlight the importance of access to different types and sizes of urban green space for children’s independent mobility to parks.

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Natasha Schranz, Tim Olds, Dylan Cliff, Melanie Davern, Lina Engelen, Billie Giles-Corti, Sjaan Gomersall, Louise Hardy, Kylie Hesketh, Andrew Hills, David Lubans, Doune Macdonald, Rona Macniven, Philip Morgan, Tony Okely, Anne-Maree Parish, Ron Plotnikoff, Trevor Shilton, Leon Straker, Anna Timperio, Stewart Trost, Stewart Vella, Jenny Ziviani, and Grant Tomkinson

Background:

Like many other countries, Australia is facing an inactivity epidemic. The purpose of the Australian 2014 Physical Activity Report Card initiative was to assess the behaviors, settings, and sources of influences and strategies and investments associated with the physical activity levels of Australian children and youth.

Methods:

A Research Working Group (RWG) drawn from experts around Australia collaborated to determine key indicators, assess available datasets, and the metrics which should be used to inform grades for each indicator and factors to consider when weighting the data. The RWG then met to evaluate the synthesized data to assign a grade to each indicator.

Results:

Overall Physical Activity Levels were assigned a grade of D-. Other physical activity behaviors were also graded as less than average (D to D-), while Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation was assigned a grade of B-. The nation performed better for settings and sources of influence and Government Strategies and Investments (A- to a C). Four incompletes were assigned due to a lack of representative quality data.

Conclusions:

Evidence suggests that physical activity levels of Australian children remain very low, despite moderately supportive social, environmental and regulatory environments. There are clear gaps in the research which need to be filled and consistent data collection methods need to be put into place.