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Amy Eyler, Ross Brownson, Tom Schmid and Michael Pratt

With increasing evidence of the detrimental effects of physical inactivity, there is interest in enhancing research on policies that may influence physical activity in communities. Given the potential policy impact, a framework that organized and conceptualized policy interventions and priorities for public health efforts to promote physical activity was developed. In addition, the Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN) was formed as a way to operationalize the contents of the framework. Recommendations for future work in this area include enhancing transdisciplinary collaborations, raising the priority of policy evaluation, studying policies at all levels, and emphasizing dissemination of findings.

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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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Susan G. Zieff, Claudia M. Guedes and Amy Eyler

Background:

Neighborhood environment and resources affect physical activity. This study examined the relationships between San Francisco residents’ perceived barriers to physical activity and policy-maker perspectives of conditions in neighborhoods that are under-served for physical activity.

Methods:

Nine focus groups comprised of primarily African American, Chinese American, and Latino populations were constructed from 6 low-income neighborhoods to respond to questions based on the social-ecological model about neighborhood recreational opportunities and to offer policy and intervention strategies to increase physical activity. A tenth focus group was conducted with staff members from 7 city departments to respond to neighborhood focus groups outcomes. The transcribed videotaped discussions were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results:

Both residents and policy-makers highlighted neighborhood disparities that reduce physical activity including unsafe and unhealthy environments and difficulty accessing available resources. Residents reported fewer available free or low-cost resources than those identified by policy-makers.

Conclusions:

Findings suggest that policy-makers would benefit from consideration of neighborhood-level affects of policies on physical activity and local residents’ recommendations for policies affecting physical activity. Concordance between residents’ perceptions and policy-maker perceptions of neighborhood conditions for physical activity was greater than reported in previous literature.

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Kelly R. Evenson, Fang Wen, Sarah M. Lee, Katie M. Heinrich and Amy Eyler

Background:

A Healthy People 2010 developmental objective (22-12) was set to increase the proportion of the nation's public and private schools that provide access to their physical activity spaces and facilities for all persons outside of normal school hours. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of indoor and outdoor facilities at schools and the availability of those facilities to the public in 2000 and 2006.

Methods:

In 2000 and 2006, the School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) was conducted in each state and in randomly selected districts, schools, and classrooms. This analysis focused on the school level questionnaire from a nationally representative sample of public and nonpublic elementary, middle, and high schools (n = 921 in 2000 and n = 984 in 2006).

Results:

No meaningful changes in the prevalence of access to school physical activity facilities were found from 2000 to 2006, for youth or adult community sports teams, classes, or open gym.

Conclusions:

These national data indicate a lack of progress from 2000 and 2006 toward increasing the proportion of the nation's public and private schools that provide access to their physical activity facilities for all persons outside of normal school hours.

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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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Carlos Mario Arango, Diana C. Parra, Amy Eyler, Olga Sarmiento, Sonia C. Mantilla, Luis Fernando Gomez and Felipe Lobelo

Background:

Active school transport (AST) is a recommended strategy to promote physical activity (PA) and prevent overweight (OW) in school-aged children. In many developing countries, such as Colombia, this association has not been well characterized.

Objective:

To determine the association between AST and weight status in a representative sample of adolescents from Montería, Colombia.

Methods:

Participants were 546 adolescents (278 boys) aged 11 to 18 years old from 14 randomly selected schools in Montería, Colombia in 2008. The PA module of the Global School Health Survey (GSHS-2007) was used to determine the prevalence of AST. To identify OW, participants were classified according to CDC 2000 criteria (BMI ≥85th percentile). Association between AST and OW was determined by binomial logistic regression.

Results:

Odds ratios adjusted for age, sex, location of school, compliance with PA, and screen time recommendations showed that adolescents who reported AST had a significantly lower likelihood to be OW compared with adolescents who reported nonactive transportation (OR = 0.5, 95% CI 0.3−0.8, P < .05).

Conclusions:

These results support the importance of AST as a useful PA domain with potential implications for overweight prevention, in rapidly developing settings. Further epidemiologic and intervention studies addressing AST are needed in the region.

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Amy Eyler, Jamie Chriqui, Jay Maddock, Angie Cradock, Kelly R. Evenson, Jeanette Gustat, Steven Hooker, Rodney Lyn, Michelle Segar, Nancy O’Hara Tompkins and Susan G. Zieff

Background:

In the United States, health promotion efforts often begin with state-level strategic plans. Many states have obesity, nutrition, or other topic-related plans that include physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to assess PA content in these state plans and make recommendations for future plan development.

Methods:

Publically available plans were collected in 2010. A content analysis tool was developed based on the United States National PA Plan and included contextual information and plan content. All plans were double coded for reliability and analyzed using SPSS.

Results:

Forty-three states had a statewide plan adopted between 2002 and 2010, none of which focused solely on PA. Over 80% of PA-specific strategies included policy or environmental changes. Most plans also included traditional strategies to increase PA (eg, physical education, worksite). Few plans included a specific focus on land use/community design, parks/recreation, or transportation. Less than one-half of plans included transportation or land use/community design partners in plan development.

Conclusions:

Though the majority of states had a PA-oriented plan, comprehensiveness varied by state. Most plans lacked overarching objectives on the built environment, transportation, and land use/community design. Opportunities exist for plan revision and alignment with the National PA Plan sectors and strategies.

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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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Amy Eyler, Tina Lankford, Jamie Chriqui, Kelly R. Evenson, Judy Kruger, Nancy Tompkins, Carolyn Voorhees, Susan Zieff, Semra Aytur and Ross Brownson

Background:

Trails provide opportunities for recreation, transportation and activity. The purpose of this article is to describe state legislation related to community trails, to analyze legislation content, and to evaluate legislation on inclusion of evidence-informed elements.

Methods:

State trail legislation from 2001 to 2008 was identified using online legislative databases. An analysis of evidence-informed elements included in the legislation was conducted. These elements included: funding, liability, accessibility, connectivity, and maintenance.

Results:

Of the total 991 trail bills, 516 (52.0%) were appropriations bills, of which 167 (32.2%) were enacted. We analyzed 475 (48%) nonappropriation trail bills of which 139 (29.3%) were enacted. The percentage of enactment of appropriations bills decreased over time while enactment of nonappropriations trail bills increased. Over half of the nonappropriations trail bills included at least 1 evidence-informed element, most commonly funding. Few bills contained liability, connectivity, accessibility, or maintenance.

Conclusions:

There is opportunity for providing evidence-informed information to policy-makers to potentially influence bill content. The number of bills with a funding element demonstrates that fiscal support for trails is an important policy lever that state legislatures may use to support trails. Lastly, trails should be considered in over-all state-level physical activity legislation to provide opportunities for communities to be active.