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  • Author: Lawrence D. Frank x
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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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Marc A. Adams, Sherry Ryan, Jacqueline Kerr, James F. Sallis, Kevin Patrick, Lawrence D. Frank and Gregory J. Norman

Background:

Concurrent validity of Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) items was evaluated with objective measures of the built environment using geographic information systems (GIS).

Methods:

A sample of 878 parents of children 10 to 16 years old (mean age 43.5 years, SD = 6.8, 34.8% non-White, 63.8% overweight) completed NEWS and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. GIS was used to develop 1-mile street network buffers around participants’ residences. GIS measures of the built environment within participants’ buffers included percent of commercial and institutional land uses; number of schools and colleges, recreational facilities, parks, transit stops, and trees; land topography; and traffic congestion.

Results:

Except for trees and traffic, concordance between the NEWS and GIS measures were significant, with weak to moderate effect sizes (r = −0.09 to −0.36, all P ≤ 01). After participants were stratified by physical activity level, stronger concordance was observed among active participants for some measures. A sensitivity analysis of self-reported distance to 15 neighborhood destinations found a 20-minute (compared with 10- or 30-minute) walking threshold generally had the strongest correlations with GIS measures.

Conclusions:

These findings provide evidence of the concurrent validity of self-reported built environment items with objective measures. Physically active adults may be more knowledgeable about their neighborhood characteristics.

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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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Ding Ding, James F. Sallis, Gregory J. Norman, Lawrence D. Frank, Brian E. Saelens, Jacqueline Kerr, Terry L. Conway, Kelli Cain, Melbourne F. Hovell, C. Richard Hofstetter and Abby C. King

Some attributes of neighborhood environments are associated with physical activity among older adults. This study examined whether the associations were moderated by driving status. Older adults from neighborhoods differing in walkability and income completed written surveys and wore accelerometers (N = 880, mean age = 75 years, 56% women). Neighborhood environments were measured by geographic information systems and validated questionnaires. Driving status was defined on the basis of a driver’s license, car ownership, and feeling comfortable to drive. Outcome variables included accelerometer-based physical activity and self-reported transport and leisure walking. Multilevel generalized linear regression was used. There was no significant Neighborhood Attribute × Driving Status interaction with objective physical activity or reported transport walking. For leisure walking, almost all environmental attributes were positive and significant among driving older adults but not among nondriving older adults (five significant interactions at p < .05). The findings suggest that driving status is likely to moderate the association between neighborhood environments and older adults’ leisure walking.

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Eric B. Hekler, Matthew P. Buman, William L. Haskell, Terry L. Conway, Kelli L. Cain, James F. Sallis, Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank, Jacqueline Kerr and Abby C. King

Background:

Recent research highlights the potential value of differentiating between categories of physical activity intensities as predictors of health and well-being. This study sought to assess reliability and concurrent validity of sedentary (ie, 1 METs), low-light (ie, >1 and ≤2 METs; eg, playing cards), high-light (ie, >2 and <3 METs; eg, light walking), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA, ≥3 METs), and “total activity” (≥2 METs) from the CHAMPS survey. Further, this study explored over-reporting and double-reporting.

Methods:

CHAMPS data were gathered from the Seniors Neighborhood Quality of Life Study, an observational study of adults aged 65+ years conducted in 2 US regions.

Results:

Participants (N = 870) were 75.3 ± 6.8 years old, with 56% women and 71% white. The CHAMPS sedentary, low-light, high-light, total activity, and MVPA variables had acceptable test-retest reliability (ICCs 0.56−0.70). The CHAMPS high-light (ρ = 0.27), total activity (ρ = 0.34), and MVPA (ρ = 0.37) duration scales were moderately associated with accelerometry minutes of corresponding intensity, and the sedentary scale (ρ = 0.12) had a lower, but significant correlation. Results suggested that several CHAMPS items may be susceptible to over-reporting (eg, walking, housework).

Conclusions:

CHAMPS items effectively measured high-light, total activity, and MVPA in seniors, but further refinement is needed for sedentary and low-light activity.