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Jill A. Kuhlberg, J. Aaron Hipp, Amy Eyler and Genevieve Chang

Background:

The ciclovía, or open streets concept, is a community-level physical activity (PA) promotion strategy where streets are closed to motorized traffic and open for individuals to engage in PA. This paper presents an overview of such initiatives in the United States (US) to understand their potential in PA promotion, comparing event and city characteristics.

Methods:

We searched ciclovía and open streets initiatives held in 2011 in the US using internet searches, publication databases, social media, and personal contacts. We extracted data on the each initiative’s frequency, route length, attendance, evaluation procedures, and sociodemographic characteristics of host cities.

Results:

Our search yielded 47 US cities with open streets in 2011. Cities were diverse in sociodemographic characteristics. Route lengths ranged from a few blocks to 51 miles and event frequency ranged from annual to monthly. Reporting number of participants for events was sporadic. Few events conducted formal evaluations.

Conclusion:

The number of US cities hosting open streets is increasing. The sociodemographics of the host cities suggest a potential to increase physical activity in populations at risk for developing chronic diseases through these initiatives. However, further evaluation is required. Identifying successful promotion and evaluation tactics would boost the health promotion potential of these initiatives.

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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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Amy A. Eyler, Aaron Hipp, Cheryl Ann Valko, Ramya Ramadas and Marissa Zwald

Background: Workplace design can impact workday physical activity (PA) and sedentary time. The purpose of this study was to evaluate PA behavior among university employees before and after moving into a new building. Methods: A pre–post, experimental versus control group study design was used. PA data were collected using surveys and accelerometers from university faculty and staff. Accelerometry was used to compare those moving into the new building (MOVERS) and those remaining in existing buildings (NONMOVERS) and from a control group (CONTROLS). Results: Survey results showed increased self-reported PA for MOVERS and NONMOVERS. All 3 groups significantly increased in objectively collected daily energy expenditure and steps per day. The greatest steps per day increase was in CONTROLS (29.8%) compared with MOVERS (27.5%) and NONMOVERS (15.9%), but there were no significant differences between groups at pretest or posttest. Conclusions: Self-reported and objectively measured PA increased from pretest to posttest in all groups; thus, the increase cannot be attributed to the new building. Confounding factors may include contamination bias due to proximity of control site to experimental site and introduction of a university PA tracking contest during postdata collection. Methodology and results can inform future studies on best design practices for increasing PA.

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Jeanette Gustat, Christopher E. Anderson, Keelia O’Malley, Tian Hu, Rachel G. Tabak, Karin Valentine Goins, Cheryl Valko, Jill S. Litt and Amy A. Eyler

Background: To assess how perceptions of the community built environment influence support for community policies that promote physical activity (PA). Methods: A national cross-sectional survey assessed perceptions of the local built environment and support of community policies, including school and workplace policies, promoting PA. A random digit–dialed telephone survey was conducted in US counties selected on Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for high or low prevalence of obesity and inactivity. A total of 1208 subjects were interviewed, 642 from high-prevalence counties and 566 from low-prevalence counties. Analyses were stratified by county prevalence of obesity and inactivity (high or low). Linear models adjusted for covariates were constructed to assess the influence of built environment perceptions on policy support. Results: Perception of more destinations near the residence was associated with increased support for community policies that promote PA, including tax increases in low-prevalence (obesity and inactivity) counties (P < .01). Positive perception of the workplace environment was associated (P < .001) with increased support for workplace policies among those in high-, but not low-, prevalence counties. Conclusions: Support for community policies promoting PA varies by perception of the built environment, which has implications for policy change.

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Ross C. Brownson, Cheryl M. Kelly, Amy A. Eyler, Cheryl Carnoske, Lisa Grost, Susan L. Handy, Jay E. Maddock, Delores Pluto, Brian A. Ritacco, James F. Sallis and Thomas L. Schmid

Background:

Environmental and policy approaches are promising strategies to raise population-wide rates of physical activity; yet, little attention has been paid to the development and prioritization of a research agenda on these topics that will have relevance for both researchers and practitioners.

Methods:

Using input from hundreds of researchers and practitioners, a research agenda was developed for promoting physical activity through environmental and policy interventions. Concept mapping was used to develop the agenda.

Results:

Among those who brainstormed ideas, 42% were researchers and 33% were practitioners. The data formed a concept map with 9 distinct clusters. Based on ratings by both researchers and practitioners, the policy research cluster on city planning and design emerged as the most important, with economic evaluation second.

Conclusions:

Our research agenda sets the stage for new inquiries to better understand the environmental and policy influences on physical activity.