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Deborah A. Cohen, Scott Ashwood, Molly Scott, Adrian Overton, Kelly R. Evenson, Carolyn C. Voorhees, Ariane Bedimo-Rung and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Proximity to routine destinations is an important correlate of physical activity. We examined the association between distance from school and physical activity in adolescent girls.

Methods:

We mapped the addresses of 1554 sixth-grade girls who participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) Study and calculated the shortest distance from home to school along the street network. Using a hierarchical design we examined the association between MET-weighted moderate to vigorous physical activity (MW- MVPA) and distance to school, while controlling for potential confounders.

Results:

Distance to school was inversely associated with weekday MW- MVPA for middle school girls. For every mile the girls lived from their schools, they engaged in an average of 13 fewer MET-weighted minutes per week.

Conclusions:

Distance to school is inversely associated with MW-MVPA. The most adversely affected girls lived more than 5 miles from school. Time spent commuting could explain reduced time for physical activity.

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Carolyn C. Voorhees, Dianne J. Catellier, J. Scott Ashwood, Deborah A. Cohen, Ariane Rung, Leslie Lytle, Terry L. Conway and Marsha Dowda

Background:

Socioeconomic status (SES) has well known associations with a variety of health conditions and behaviors in adults but is unknown in adolescents.

Methods:

Multilevel analysis was conducted to examine the associations between individual and neighborhood-level measures of SES and physical activity and body mass index in a sample of 1554 6th grade girls selected at random from 36 middle schools across 6 geographic regions in the United States that participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG). Data on parental education and employment, and receipt of subsidized school lunch were collected by questionnaire. Neighborhood-level SES was measured by the Townsend Index. Nonschool physical activity levels were measured by accelerometer and type, location and context was measured using a 3 day physical activity recall (3DPAR).

Results:

After controlling for race, lower parental education and higher levels of social deprivation were associated with higher BMI. In a model with both variables, effects were attenuated and only race remained statistically significant. None of the indices of SES were related to accelerometer measured physical activity. Bivariate associations with self-reported Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) location and type (3DPAR) varied by SES.

Conclusion:

Among adolescent girls in the TAAG Study, the prevalence of overweight is high and inversely related to individual and neighborhood SES.

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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.

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Lesley Steinman, Mark Doescher, David Levinger, Cynthia Perry, Louise Carter, Amy Eyler, Semra Aytur, Angie L.I. Cradock, Kelly R. Evenson, Katie Heinrich, Jacqueline Kerr, Jill Litt, Yucel Severcan and Carolyn Voorhees

Background:

Recent research demonstrates the importance of targeting the built environment to support individual physical activity, particularly for people experiencing health disparities. Master plans to promote biking and/or pedestrians (BPMPs) are a potential method for environmental change. This descriptive study aims to provide a snapshot of plan attributes and better understand demographic, social and transportation characteristics of communities with BPMPs.

Methods:

We collected a census sample of BPMPs from 4 states. Population and commuting data were obtained from national statistics.

Results:

294 master plans were included, with most plans representing municipalities. 62% of plans targeted biking only, one-fifth targeted biking and walking, and 15% targeted walking only. The sampled locations have a similar demographic profile as the overall U.S. for median age and household income, people of color, high school education, and income inequality. The degree of racial diversity of sampled communities is slightly less than the U.S. average and the percentage of people who walk to work were slightly higher.

Conclusions:

Given that communities with master plans have a similar profile as the overall U.S., BPMPs could feasibly be spread to communities throughout the country. Further research is planned to describe BPMPs in detail toward informing future plan development.