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  • Author: Brian E. Saelens x
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Jennifer D. Roberts, Lindsey Rodkey, Rashawn Ray and Brian E. Saelens

Background: Although the active transportation (AT) indicator received an F grade on the 2016 US Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, this AT assessment excluded public transportation. An objective of the Built Environment and Active Play Study was to assess youth AT, including public transportation, among Washington, DC area children in relation to parental perceptions of neighborhood built environment (BE) variables. Methods: Questionnaires were mailed to 2000 parents of children aged 7–12 years. AT to school (ATS) was assessed with the question: “In an average school week, how many days does your child use each of the following ways to get to and from school? (a) Walk; (b) Bike; (c) Car; (d) Bus or Metro.” Parental perceived BE data were obtained through questionnaire items, and logistic regression was conducted to determine if BE variables were associated with youth ATS. Results: The sample included 144 children (50% female; average age 9.7 years; 56.3% white; 23.7% African American; 10.4% Asian American). Over 30% used ATS-public transportation 5 days per week, and nearly 13% used ATS-walking daily. Parental perceived BE variables significantly predicted youth ATS-walking and ATS-public transportation. Conclusions: ATS-public transportation is common among Washington, DC area youth, and parental perceptions of BE can significantly predict ATS.

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Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank, Christopher Auffrey, Robert C. Whitaker, Hillary L. Burdette and Natalie Colabianchi

Background:

Reliable and comprehensive measurement of physical activity settings is needed to examine environment-behavior relations.

Methods:

Surveyed park professionals (n = 34) and users (n = 29) identified park and playground elements (e.g., trail) and qualities (e.g., condition). Responses guided observational instrument development for environmental assessment of public recreation spaces (EAPRS). Item inter-rater reliability was evaluated following observations in 92 parks and playgrounds. Instrument revision and further reliability testing were conducted with observations in 21 parks and 20 playgrounds.

Results:

EAPRS evaluates trail/path, specific use (e.g., picnic), water-related, amenity (e.g., benches), and play elements, and their qualities. Most EAPRS items had good-excellent reliability, particularly presence/number items. Reliability improved from the original (n = 1088 items) to revised (n = 646 items) instrument for condition, coverage/shade, and openness/visibility items. Reliability was especially good for play features, but cleanliness items were generally unreliable.

Conclusions:

The EAPRS instrument provides comprehensive assessment of parks’ and playgrounds’ physical environment, with generally high reliability.

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Carrie M. Geremia, Kelli L. Cain, Terry L. Conway, James F. Sallis and Brian E. Saelens

Background: Assessment of park characteristics that may support physical activity (PA) can guide the design of more activity-supportive parks. Direct-observation measures are seldom used due to time and resource restraints. Methods: The authors developed shortened versions of the original Environmental Assessment of Public Recreation Spaces (EAPRS) tool and tested their construct validity by comparing scores from 40 parks in San Diego, CA to observe park use and PA. Results: PA elements were positively associated with park use and park PA across all versions, with the highest correlations for trails (.45 for use and .51 for PA using EAPRS-Original; .57 use and .62 PA using Abbreviated; and .38 use and .43 PA using Mini). Presence of amenities, using Abbreviated and Mini versions, was correlated with park use (.71, .64) and PA (.67, .59). The overall park quality score using Abbreviated and Mini had similar correlations (adjusted for park size) with park use (.74, .72) and PA (.72, .70) as EAPRS-Original (.71 use and .73 PA). Conclusion: In all 3 versions, EAPRS overall park scores were strongly related to observed park use and PA. Shorter versions of EAPRS make it more feasible to use park observations in research and practice.

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Ugo Lachapelle, Larry Frank, Brian E. Saelens, James F. Sallis and Terry L. Conway

Background:

Most public transit users walk to and from transit. We analyzed the relationship between transit commuting and objectively measured physical activity.

Methods:

Adults aged 20 to 65 working outside the home (n = 1237) were randomly selected from neighborhoods in Seattle and Baltimore regions. Neighborhoods had high or low median income and high or low mean walkability. Mean daily minutes of accelerometer-measured moderate-intensity physical activity (MPA) were regressed on frequency of commuting by transit and neighborhood walkability, adjusting for demographic factors and enjoyment of physical activity. Interaction terms and stratification were used to assess moderating effect of walkability on the relation between transit commuting and MPA. Associations between transit commuting and self-reported days walked to destinations near home and work were assessed using Chi Square tests.

Results:

Regardless of neighborhood walkability, those commuting by transit accumulated more MPA (approximately 5 to 10 minutes) and walked more to services and destinations near home and near the workplace than transit nonusers. Enjoyment of physical activity was not associated with more transit commute, nor did it confound the relationships between MPA and commuting.

Conclusion:

Investments in infrastructure and service to promote commuting by transit could contribute to increased physical activity and improved health.

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Rachel A. Millstein, Katherine D. Hoerster, Dori E. Rosenberg, Karin M. Nelson, Gayle Reiber and Brian E. Saelens

Background:

Sedentary behavior is an increasingly recognized health risk factor, independent of physical activity. Although several correlates of sedentary behavior are known, little research has identified them among U.S. veterans, a population that faces disproportionate chronic disease burden.

Methods:

A survey was mailed to 1997 randomly selected veterans at a large urban Veterans Affairs medical center in 2012 and remailed in 2013 to nonresponders, resulting in a 40% response rate. We examined individual-, social-, and neighborhood-level factors in association with self-reported sitting time. Factors correlated with sitting time at P < .05 were included in a multiple linear regression model.

Results:

In the multivariate model, higher depression (B = 7.8), body mass index (B = 5.1), functional impairment (B = 4.2), and self-rated health (B = 68.5) were significantly associated with higher sitting time, and leisure time physical activity (B = –0.10) and being employed (B = –71.3) were significantly associated with lower sitting time.

Conclusions:

Individual-level, but not social- and neighborhood-level, variables were associated with sitting time in this population. This study identified individual-level targets for reducing sitting time and improving overall health among veterans.

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James F. Sallis, Jacqueline Kerr, Jordan A. Carlson, Gregory J. Norman, Brian E. Saelens, Nefertiti Durant and Barbara E. Ainsworth

Background:

Neighborhood environment attributes of walkability and access to recreation facilities have been related to physical activity and weight status, but most self-report environment measures are lengthy. The 17-item PANES (Physical Activity Neighborhood Environment Scale) was developed to be comprehensive but brief enough for use in multipurpose surveys. The current study evaluated test-retest and alternate-form reliability of PANES items compared with multi-item subscales from the longer NEWS-A (Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale—Abbreviated).

Methods:

Participants were 291 adults recruited from neighborhoods that varied in walkability in 3 US cities. Surveys were completed twice with a 27-day interval.

Results:

Test-retest ICCs for PANES items ranged from .52 to .88. Spearman correlations for the PANES single item vs NEWS-A subscale comparisons ranged from .27 to .81 (all P < .01).

Conclusions:

PANES items related to land use mix, residential density, pedestrian infrastructure, aesthetic qualities, and safety from traffic and crime were supported by correlations with NEWS-A subscales. Access to recreation facilities and street connectivity items were not supported. The brevity of PANES allows items to be included in studies or surveillance systems to expand knowledge about neighborhood environments.

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Jeanette I. Candelaria, James F. Sallis, Terry L. Conway, Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank and Donald J. Slymen

Background:

The study aim was to assess the relation of parent status to physical activity (PA) and the impact of parental roles, age and number of children on PA.

Methods:

Data for 909 women and 965 men, aged 20–57, were analyzed. Mixed Models were used to assess differences in PA between parents and adults without children, with analyses stratified by sex. The primary outcome was accelerometer-measured total daily minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA).

Results:

Parenthood was not related to MVPA, but mothers reported more total PA than nonmothers. For mothers and fathers, self-reported household activity was higher and sitting time lower, compared with nonparents. Both men and women with children aged 0–5 reported the highest household activity and the lowest sitting time, with household PA higher and sitting time lower with more children. There was no evidence that leisure, transport, or occupational activity varied by parenthood.

Conclusions:

Considering the potential impact of child-rearing on parent time demands, there was little difference in parents’ objectively measured MVPA compared with nonparents. Educational interventions or extracurricular programs for students and parents could target families with school-aged children. Development of tools to obtain parent reports of child care-specific PA behaviors would be useful.

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Christina M. Thornton, Kelli L. Cain, Terry L. Conway, Jacqueline Kerr, Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank, Karen Glanz and James F. Sallis

Background:

The after-school period provides an opportune context for adolescent physical activity. This study examined how characteristics of after-school recreation environments related to adolescent physical activity.

Methods:

Participants were 889 adolescents aged 12 to 17 (mean = 14.1, SD = 1.4) from 2 US regions. Adolescents reported on whether their school offered after-school supervised physical activity, access to play areas/fields, and presence of sports facilities. Outcomes were accelerometer-measured after-school physical activity, reported physical activity on school grounds during nonschool hours, attainment of 60 minutes of daily physical activity excluding school physical education, and BMI-for-age z-score. Mixed regression models adjusted for study design, region, sex, age, ethnicity, vehicles/licensed drivers in household, and distance to school.

Results:

School environment variables were all significantly associated with self-reported physical activity on school grounds during non-school hours (P < .001) and attainment of 60 minutes of daily physical activity (P < .05). Adolescents’ accelerometer-measured after-school physical activity was most strongly associated with access to supervised physical activity (P = .008).

Conclusions:

Policies and programs that provide supervised after-school physical activity and access to play areas, fields, and sports facilities may help adolescents achieve daily physical activity recommendations.

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Kavita A. Gavand, Kelli L. Cain, Terry L. Conway, Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank, Jacqueline Kerr, Karen Glanz and James F. Sallis

Background: To examine relations between parents’ perceived neighborhood recreation environments and multiple measures of adolescent physical activity (PA). Methods: Participants (N = 928; age 14.1 [1.4] y, 50.4% girls, and 33.4% nonwhite/Hispanic) and their parents were recruited. Teen moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) was assessed with 7-day accelerometry. Self-reported total PA, PA near home, and PA at recreation locations were also assessed. Proximity of home to 8 types of recreation facilities was reported by parents. Mixed-model linear regressions relating environments to various measures of PA were adjusted for demographics and neighborhood clustering. Results: Perceiving more availability of recreation facilities around home was related to higher reports of days per week with 60+ minutes of PA (b = 0.153; P < .05), reported PA time near home (b = 0.152; P < .001), PA time at recreation facilities (b = 0.161; P < .001), accelerometer-measured total MVPA (b = 1.741; P < .05), and nonschool MVPA (b = 1.508; P < .01). Adolescents living in lowest quintile of recreation facility availability averaged 27.6 (3.2) minutes per day of total MVPA versus 49.8 (3.5) minutes per day for those living in highest quintile. Conclusions: Adolescents living in neighborhoods that parents reported having more availability of recreation facilities around homes had higher activity across 5 indicators of PA.

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Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Kara D. Denstel, Kim Beals, Christopher Bolling, Carly Wright, Scott E. Crouter, Thomas L. McKenzie, Russell R. Pate, Brian E. Saelens, Amanda E. Staiano, Heidi I. Stanish and Susan B. Sisson

Background:

The 2016 United States (U.S.) Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth provides a comprehensive evaluation of physical activity levels and factors influencing physical activity among children and youth.

Methods:

The report card includes 10 indicators: Overall Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, Active Transportation, Organized Sport Participation, Active Play, Health-related Fitness, Family and Peers, School, Community and the Built Environment, and Government Strategies and Investments. Nationally representative data were used to evaluate the indicators using a standard grading rubric.

Results:

Sufficient data were available to assign grades to 7 of the indicators, and these ranged from B- for Community and the Built Environment to F for Active Transportation. Overall Physical Activity received a grade of D- due to the low prevalence of meeting physical activity guidelines. A grade of D was assigned to Health-related Fitness, reflecting the low prevalence of meeting cardiorespiratory fitness standards. Disparities across age, gender, racial/ethnic and socioeconomic groups were observed for several indicators.

Conclusions:

Continued poor grades suggest that additional work is required to provide opportunities for U.S. children to be physically active. The observed disparities indicate that special attention should be given to girls, minorities, and those from lower socioeconomic groups when implementing intervention strategies.