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  • Author: Andrew T. Kaczynski x
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Andrew T. Kaczynski

Background:

Built environments are associated with physical activity (PA), but most studies to date have employed acontextual PA outcome measures. The purposes of this study were to examine the proportion of PA that occurred within participants’ neighborhoods and associations between neighborhood walkability attributes and different intensities and purposes of PA episodes occurring specifically within neighborhoods.

Methods:

384 community residents completed 7 subscales of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) and a detailed 7-day PA log-booklet that included the duration, intensity, and purpose of all episodes.

Results:

Only one-third of reported PA episodes occurred in participants’ neighborhoods. Higher ratings for 5 of the 7 walkability variables were associated with an increased likelihood of engaging in at least some moderate-intensity neighborhood PA (versus none), but were not significantly associated with engaging in greater levels of neighborhood PA (150+ versus 1−149 minutes). Land use mix access, street connectivity, and aesthetics were significant predictors of transportation-related neighborhood PA, but only aesthetics was significantly associated with neighborhood recreational PA.

Conclusions:

Improving neighborhood walkability may be a stimulus for increased neighborhood PA, especially among largely sedentary individuals, but different attributes are associated with transportation-related and recreational activity.

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Andrew T. Kaczynski and Karla A. Henderson

Background:

The purpose of this study was to review reported associations between parks and recreation settings (PRSs) as features of the built environment and various functions and intensities of physical activity (PA).

Methods:

By searching 4 major databases for the years 1998 to 2005, 50 articles were uncovered that reported quantitative relationships between PRSs and PA.

Results:

Most articles showed some significant positive relationships between PRSs and PA. PRSs were more likely to be positively associated with PA for exercise or utilitarian functions than for recreational PA. Mixed results were observed for the associations between PRSs and both moderate and vigorous PA, but PRSs were commonly associated with walking.

Conclusions:

The studies indicated links between PRSs and PA and provided evidence for the contributions parks and recreation makes as part of the “health care” system within communities. Because of the ubiquity of PRSs and their potential contributions to active living, these relationships merit further exploration.

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Mohammad Javad Koohsari, Takemi Sugiyama, Andrew T. Kaczynski and Neville Owen

Background:

Too much sitting, including time spent sitting in cars, is associated with poor health outcomes. Identifying the built-environment attributes that may reduce vehicular sitting time can inform future initiatives linking the public health, urban design, and transportation sectors.

Methods:

Data collected in 2003–2004 from adult residents (n = 2521) of Adelaide, Australia were used. Logistic regression analyses examined associations of prolonged time spent sitting in cars during leisure time (30 min/day or more) with neighborhood walkability and its components (dwelling density; intersection density; land use mix; net retail area ratio).

Results:

Lower overall walkability was significantly associated with a higher odds (OR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.21–1.70) of spending prolonged time in cars. For analyses with walkability components, lower net retail area ratio, lower residential density, and lower intersection density were significantly associated with prolonged sitting in cars.

Conclusion:

This study found that residents of high walkable neighborhoods tended to spend less time sitting in cars. In particular, higher net retail area ratio, an indicator of tightly spaced commercial areas, was strongly associated with less time in cars. Policy and planning initiatives to reduce car use require further evidence, particularly on the influence of neighborhood retail areas.

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Robert Fields, Andrew T. Kaczynski, Melissa Bopp and Elizabeth Fallon

Background:

Few studies of the built environment and physical activity or other health behaviors have examined minority populations specifically. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between the built environment and multiple health behaviors and outcomes among Hispanic adults.

Methods:

Community partners distributed surveys (n = 189) in 3 communities in southwest Kansas. Logistic regression was used to examine relationships between neighborhood perceptions and 4 outcomes.

Results:

Meeting physical activity recommendations was associated with the presence of sidewalks and a safe park, and inversely related to higher crime. Residential density and shops nearby were related to active commuting. Sedentary behavior was inversely related to having a bus stop, bike facilities, safe park, interesting things to look at, and seeing people active. Finally, seeing people active was positively associated with being overweight.

Conclusions:

This study suggests that among Hispanics, many built environment variables are related to health behaviors and should be targets for future neighborhood change efforts and research.

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Rogerio Fermino, Rodrigo Reis, Pedro C. Hallal and Andrew T. Kaczynski

Background:

The aim of this study was to analyze how sociodemographic characteristics, health, characteristics of quality of life, and perceptions of places are associated with park use in Curitiba, Brazil.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study with face-toface interviews was conducted with 1461 adults who lived within the area of 500 m near 8 parks. The survey included questions about gender, age, socioeconomic status, education, marital status, body mass index, perceived health, number of morbidities, perception of quality of life, physical environment, leisure opportunities, self-satisfaction, and satisfaction with the park. The use of a specific park near the residence was identified as 1 of 3 outcomes: park use versus nonuse, park use ≥ 1 time/wk, and park use ≥ 3 times/wk. Poisson regression was used to examine associations between the independent variables and each level of park use.

Results:

Overall park use (60.9%) and ≥ 1 time/wk (32.2%) and ≥ 3 times/wk use (16.8%) were associated with age and leisure opportunities. Leisure opportunities and park satisfaction were related to more frequent visits to these outdoor areas.

Conclusions:

These results can be used in guiding interventions that improve the quality of parks and other outdoor areas and offer leisure opportunities to the community.

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Andrew T. Kaczynski, Jennifer Robertson-Wilson and Melissa Decloe

Objectives:

Few social ecological studies have considered the joint effects of intrapersonal and environmental influences on physical activity. This study investigated the interaction of self-efficacy and perceived neighborhood walkability in predicting neighborhood-based physical activity and how this relationship varied by gender and body mass index.

Methods:

Data were derived from a cross-sectional investigation of environmental and psychosocial correlates of physical activity among adults (n = 585). Participants completed a detailed 7-day physical activity log booklet, along with a questionnaire that included measures of neighborhood walkability, self-efficacy, and several sociodemographic items. Factorial analysis of variance tests were used to examine the main effects of and interaction between walkability and self-efficacy.

Results:

In predicting neighborhood-based physical activity, significant interactions were observed between self-efficacy and neighborhood walkability for females (but not for males) and for overweight/obese participants (but not for healthy weight individuals). Women and overweight/obese individuals with low self-efficacy demonstrated substantially greater physical activity when living in a high walkable neighborhood.

Conclusions:

Physical activity research and promotion efforts should take into account both environmental and personal factors and the interrelationships between them that influence active living.

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Lisa Groshong, Sonja A. Wilhelm Stanis, Andrew T. Kaczynski, J. Aaron Hipp and Gina M. Besenyi

Background:

Public parks hold promise for promoting population-level PA, but studies show a significant portion of park use is sedentary. Past research has documented the effectiveness of message-based strategies for influencing diverse behaviors in park settings and for increasing PA in nonpark contexts. Therefore, to inform message-based interventions (eg, point-ofdecision prompts) to increase park-based PA, the purpose of this study was to elicit insights about key attitudes, perceived norms, and personal agency that affect park use and park-based PA in low-income urban neighborhoods.

Methods:

This study used 6 focus groups with youth and adults (n = 41) from low-income urban areas in Kansas City, MO, to examine perceptions of key attitudinal outcomes and motivations, perceived norms, key referents, and personal agency facilitators and constraints that affect park use and park-based PA.

Results:

Participant attitudes reflected the importance of parks for mental and physical health, with social interaction and solitude cited as key motivations. Of 10 themes regarding perceived norms, influential others reflected participants’ ethnic makeup but little consensus emerged among groups. Social and safety themes were cited as both facilitators and constraints, along with park offerings and setting.

Conclusions:

Information about attitudes, perceived norms, and personal agency can increase understanding of theoretically derived factors that influence park-based PA and help park and health professionals create communication strategies to promote PA.

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Andrew T. Kaczynski, Sonja A. Wilhelm Stanis, Tanis J. Hastmann and Gina M. Besenyi

Background:

Parks are important settings for physical activity (PA), but few studies have documented the actual behaviors of park users. The purpose of this study was to examine the individual and joint effects of various park user demographic characteristics on observed PA intensity levels.

Methods:

Four parks were observed using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities. Observers recorded the age group, gender, race, and intensity level of all park users in 83 activity areas over two weekends at each park. Logistic regression examined whether male/White, female/White, and male/non-White users were more likely than female/non-White users to be observed engaging in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) rather than sedentary activity across 4 age groups.

Results:

In total, 8612 users were observed during the study. In the child age group, male/White users were significantly more likely to be observed in MVPA than female/non-White users. For teens, female/White and male/White users were less likely to engage in MVPA. For both adults and seniors, female/White and male/White users were more likely to be observed in MVPA.

Conclusion:

Observations revealed significant differences in intensity levels across gender, age, and race groups. Future interventions should emphasize park design that promotes increased MVPA among diverse groups.