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Gavin McCormack and Billie Giles-Corti

Background:

The influence of participating in vigorous-intensity physical activity and associated compensatory declines in other types of physical activity in the general population has not been studied well; hence, it is unknown if participation in recommended levels of vigorous-intensity physical activity influence the likelihood of participating in recommended levels of moderate-intensity physical activity.

Methods:

Face-to-face interviews were conducted on healthy adults (n = 1803), 18 to 59 years of age, recruited from the top and lower quintiles of socioeconomic status within Perth, Western Australia. Data on television watching, vigorous-intensity activity, moderate-intensity activity, and walking for recreation and transport were used in the analysis. Logistic regression was used to determine whether participation in recommended levels of vigorous-intensity activity predicted participation in recommended levels of other types of physical activity and television watching.

Results:

After controlling for age, gender, education, and social advantage, participating in recommended levels of vigorous-intensity physical activity (≥90 min/week) was not found to be associated with walking for transport (≥150 min/week) but was found to be significantly associated (OR = 1.38, 95%CI = 1.04–1.82) with recommended levels of recreational walking (≥150 min/week). Participation in recommended levels of vigorous-intensity physical activity was associated with a reduced likelihood of watching television more than 10 hours per/week (OR = 0.71, 95%CI = 0.57–0.89).

Conclusion:

In those who participate in recommended levels of vigorous-intensity physical activity, there appears to be no compensatory response in other moderate-intensity activities. Given the added health benefits associated with vigorous-intensity activity, concurrent promotion of moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity guidelines is warranted, with no evidence that participation in vigorous-intensity activity will negatively influence participation in recommended levels of moderate-intensity activity.

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Andrea Nathan, Lisa Wood, and Billie Giles-Corti

Background:

Self-selection—whether individuals inclined to walk more seek to live in walkable environments—must be accounted for when studying built environment influences on walking. The way neighborhoods are marketed to future residents has the potential to sway residential location choice, and may consequently affect measures of self-selection related to location preferences. We assessed how walking opportunities are promoted to potential buyers, by examining walkability attributes in marketing materials for housing developments.

Methods:

A content analysis of marketing materials for 32 new housing developments in Perth, Australia was undertaken, to assess how walking was promoted in the text and pictures. Housing developments designed to be pedestrian-friendly (LDs) were compared with conventional developments (CDs).

Results:

Compared with CDs, LD marketing materials had significantly more references to ‘public transport,’ ‘small home sites,’ ‘walkable parks/open space,’ ‘ease of cycling,’ ‘safe environment,’ and ‘boardwalks.’ Other walk-ability attributes approached significance.

Conclusion:

Findings suggest the way neighborhoods are marketed may contribute to self-reported reasons for choosing particular neighborhoods, especially when attributes are not present at the time of purchase. The marketing of housing developments may be an important factor to consider when measuring self-selection, and its influence on the built environment and walking relationship.

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Andrea Nathan, Lisa Wood, and Billie Giles-Corti

This study explored individual, social, and built environmental attributes in and outside of the retirement village setting and associations with various active living outcomes including objectively measured physical activity, specific walking behaviors, and social participation. Residents in Perth, Australia (N = 323), were surveyed on environmental perceptions of the village and surrounding neighborhood, self-reported physical activity, and demographic characteristics and wore accelerometers. Managers (N = 32) were surveyed on village characteristics, and objective neighborhood measures were generated in a Geographic Information System (GIS). Results indicated that built- and social-environmental attributes within and outside of retirement villages were associated with active living among residents; however, salient attributes varied depending on the specific outcome considered. Findings suggest that locating villages close to destinations is important for walking and that locating them close to previous and familiar neighborhoods is important for social participation. Further understanding and consideration into retirement village designs that promote both walking and social participation are needed.

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Gavin R. McCormack, Billie Giles-Corti, and Max Bulsara

Background:

This study examines the relationships between the availability and use of recreational destinations and physical activity.

Methods:

Analysis included n = 1355 respondents. Associations between the density of free and pay-for-use recreational destinations, demographics, and use of free and pay-for-use recreational destinations within the neighborhood were examined, followed by associations with sufficient moderate and vigorous physical activity using generalized estimating equations.

Results:

The likelihood of using a local pay recreational destination increased for each additional local pay facility (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.32 to 1.73) and was lower for those with motor vehicle access (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.26 to 0.99). The likelihood of using a local free destination increased for each additional local free facility (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.02 to 1.20) and was higher among women (OR 1.64, 95% CI 1.11 to 2.44). Destination use was associated with both moderate and vigorous-intensity physical activity.

Conclusions:

Increasing the density of neighborhood recreational destinations is associated with the use of facilities and participation in sufficient levels of physical activity.

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Paula Louise Hooper, Nicholas Middleton, Matthew Knuiman, and Billie Giles-Corti

Background:

There is increasing focus on the influence of neighborhood destinations on a variety of health behaviors. Commercial databases, integrated with Geographic Information Systems (GIS), are popular sources of destination information for public health researchers. However, the suitability and accuracy of these data for public health research purposes has been generally unexplored.

Methods:

This study validated the presence and number of a broad range of destination types listed within an Australian-based commercial database (Yellow Pages), thought to be important for encouraging health behaviors, against those identified via field audit. The study was conducted in and around 5 housing developments within the RESIDential Environments project across metropolitan Perth, Western Australia.

Results:

Overall agreement of the count of destinations listed within the Yellow Pages ranged from 0.29–0.76, depending on the study area, the timing of the data extract and the geocoding methods used. Results also indicated considerable variation between different extracts from the same commercial dataset, and appreciable over- and under-counting of different destination types compared with field audit findings.

Conclusions:

The choice of database and extraction time and methods, have important implications in the quantification of neighborhood destination mix and robustness of associations with public health behaviors.

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Nicole Joy Edwards, Billie Giles-Corti, Ann Larson, and Bridget Beesley

Background:

Associations between access to environments and levels of physical activity (PA) among adolescents have been established; however the influence of neighborhood design barriers (eg, major roads) on these relationships is less understood.

Methods:

In 2006, adolescents (n = 1304) in rural Western Australia completed the Up4it Physical Activity Survey measuring frequency and duration of organized and nonorganized physical activity by season. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were used to objectively measure distance to nearest park and beach and busy road barriers en route to these destinations.

Results:

Proximity to parks and beaches was associated with use of these environments for PA among adolescents, but this relationship attenuated after adjustment for presence of a major road. Park and beach use was positively associated with achieving recommended levels of PA. Paradoxically, proximity to these environments was not associated with achieving recommended levels of PA. Results suggest access to parks and beaches is necessary but may be insufficient to achieve recommended levels of PA. These relationships varied by season.

Conclusions:

Strategies should be put in place to encourage use of proximate supportive environments. Planning neighborhoods to reduce barriers to access and interventions to overcome seasonal variations in behavior may improve participation levels among adolescents.

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Hayley E. Cutt, Billie Giles-Corti, Matthew W. Knuiman, and Terri J. Pikora

Background:

This study aimed to develop a reliable instrument, the Dogs and Physical Activity (DAPA) tool, for measuring important attributes and scales relating to the dog-walking behavior of dog owners.

Methods:

Items measuring dog-specific individual, social environmental, physical environmental, and policy-related factors that affect dog owners’ walking with their dogs were assessed for test–retest reliability. Factor analysis was undertaken to demonstrate that the collection of test items had underlying constructs consistent with the theoretical framework.

Results:

DAPA-tool items had test–retest reliability scores >.7, indicating a high level of stability. Distinct general and dog-specific constructs of subscales measuring dog-supportive features of parks, barriers to dog walking, and behavioral beliefs about the outcomes of regular dog walking were demonstrated through factor analysis.

Conclusions:

The DAPA tool is the first comprehensive, reliable tool for measuring important attributes and scales relating to dog owners’ physical activity and the context-specific factors that affect owners’ walking with their dogs.

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Karen Martin, Alexandra Bremner, Jo Salmon, Michael Rosenberg, and Billie Giles-Corti

Background:

The objective of this study was to develop a multidomain model to identify key characteristics of the primary school environment associated with children’s physical activity (PA) during class-time.

Methods:

Accelerometers were used to calculate time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during class-time (CMVPA) of 408 sixth-grade children (mean ± SD age 11.1 ± 0.43 years) attending 27 metropolitan primary schools in Perth Western Australia. Child and staff self-report instruments and a school physical environment scan administered by the research team were used to collect data about children and the class and school environments. Hierarchical modeling identified key variables associated with CMVPA.

Results:

The final multilevel model explained 49% of CMVPA. A physically active physical education (PE) coordinator, fitness sessions incorporated into PE sessions and either a trained PE specialist, classroom teacher or nobody coordinating PE in the school, rather than the deputy principal, were associated with higher CMVPA. The amount of grassed area per student and sporting apparatus on grass were also associated with higher CMVPA.

Conclusion:

These results highlight the relevance of the school’s sociocultural, policy and physical environments in supporting class-based PA. Interventions testing optimization of the school physical, sociocultural and policy environments to support physical activity are warranted.

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Georgina Trapp, Billie Giles-Corti, Hayley Christian, Anna Timperio, Gavin McCormack, Max Bulsara, and Karen Villanueva

This study investigated whether being driven to school was associated with lower weekday and weekend step counts, less active out-of-school leisure pursuits, and more sedentary behavior. Boys aged 10–13 years (n = 384) and girls aged 9–13 years (n = 500) attending 25 Australian primary schools wore a pedometer and completed a travel diary for one week. Parents and children completed surveys capturing leisure activity, screen time, and sociodemographics. Commute distance was objectively measured. Car travel was the most frequent mode of school transportation (boys: 51%, girls: 58%). After adjustment (sociodemographics, commute distance, and school clustering) children who were driven recorded fewer weekday steps than those who walked (girls: −1,393 steps p < .001, boys: −1,569 steps, p = .009) and participated in fewer active leisure activities (girls only: p = .043). There were no differences in weekend steps or screen time. Being driven to and from school is associated with less weekday pedometer-determined physical activity in 9- to 13-year-old elementary-school children. Encouraging children, especially girls, to walk to and from school (even for part of the way for those living further distances) could protect the health and well-being of those children who are insufficiently active.

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Gavin R. McCormack, Christine M. Friedenreich, Billie Giles-Corti, Patricia K. Doyle-Baker, and Alan Shiell

Background:

The built and social environments may contribute to physical activity motivations and behavior. We examined the extent to which the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) mediated the association between neighborhood walkability and walking.

Methods:

Two random cross-sectional samples (n = 4422 adults) completed telephone interviews capturing walking-related TPB variables (perceived behavioral control (PBC), attitudes, subjective norm, intention). Of those, 2006 completed a self-administered questionnaire capturing walkability, social support (friends, family, dog ownership), and neighborhood-based transportation (NTW) and recreational walking (NRW). The likelihood of undertaking 1) any vs. none and 2) sufficient vs. insufficient levels (≥150 vs. <150 minutes/week) of NTW and NWR, in relation to walkability, social support, and TPB was estimated.

Results:

Any and sufficient NTW were associated with access to services, connectivity, residential density, not owning a dog (any NTW only), and friend and family support. Any and sufficient NRW were associated with neighborhood aesthetics (any NRW only), dog ownership, and friend and family support. PBC partially mediated the association between access to services and NTW (any and sufficient), while experiential attitudes partially mediated the association between neighborhood aesthetics and any NRW.

Conclusions:

Interventions that increase positive perceptions of the built environment may motivate adults to undertake more walking.