Tegan K. Boehmer, Christine M. Hoehner, Kathleen W. Wyrwich, Laura K. Brennan Ramirez and Ross C. Brownson
Neighborhood environmental supports for physical activity are assessed via telephone surveys (perceived) and environmental audits (observed), but the correspondence between methods is not known.
Surveys (N = 1068) and audits were conducted concurrently in four diverse urban settings to measure recreational facilities, land use, transportation environment, and aesthetics. Agreement was assessed with kappa (κ) statistics.
Kappa values ranged from –0.06 to 0.47 for the 28 item-pairs: 17 item-pairs were classified as poor agreement (κ ≤ 0.20), 10 as fair (κ = 0.21-0.40), and 1 as good (κ = 0.47). The highest agreement was observed for proximity to parks, trails, and various land-use destinations, presence of sidewalks, and measures of neighborhood maintenance and cleanliness.
Methodological issues and/or the likelihood of capturing distinct aspects of the environment may explain the generally low correspondence between survey and audit measures. Our findings should help researchers make informed decisions regarding measurement of environmental supports for physical activity.
Ross C. Brownson, Christine M. Hoehner, Laura K. Brennan, Rebeka A. Cook, Michael B. Elliott and Kathleen M. McMullen
To understand the relationships between street-scale environments and rates of physical activity, it is crucial to develop reliable methods of measurement. Community audits are commonly used to test the walkability and bikability of environments, yet few have been tested for reliability.
Audit tools were collected from the peer-reviewed literature, the Internet, and experts from a variety of backgrounds. Two versions of an audit instrument were created: an “analytic” (with Likert-scale and ordinal-response choices) and a “checklist” (with dichotomous response choices) audit tool. Audits were conducted in St Louis, MO for 147 street segments, representing both higher and lower income neighborhoods. The same segments were re-audited to assess interrater reliability.
Characteristics of the physical environment varied considerably across lower and higher income segments. For example, in the checklist audit, physical disorder was present for 67 segments in lower income segments, compared with 0 segments in higher income segments. Among 8 questions from each audit tool designed to broadly capture environmental attributes, most had moderate to poor agreement. Most of the transportation and land-use items demonstrated high (substantial or perfect) agreement, and the aesthetics and social environment items showed reliability in the moderate to fair range.
A community audit tool can be relatively easy and quick to administer and, for many domains, is reliable. Our audit tools appear particularly well suited for capturing elements in the transportation and land-use environments.
Rodrigo S. Reis, Pedro C. Hallal, Diana C. Parra, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Ross C. Brownson, Michael Pratt, Christine M. Hoehner and Luiz Ramos
Community programs have been suggested to be an important and promising strategy for physical activity (PA) promotion. Limited evidence is available regarding knowledge of and participation in these programs in Latin America.
To describe participation in and knowledge of community PA programs and to explore associations with leisure-time PA in the city of Curitiba, Brazil.
A cross sectional telephone survey was conducted among adults in Curitiba, Brazil (n = 2097). The International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to determine levels of PA, and specific questions were used to evaluate the extent to which respondents knew about or participated in the programs conducted by the municipality. Logistic regression was used to assess the meeting of PA recommendations in leisure time based on program knowledge and participation.
Knowledge of PA programs was high (91.6%) and 5.6% of population participated in the programs. After adjusting for individual characteristics, exposure to Curitiba's PA community programs was associated with leisure-time PA (POR = 2.9, 95% CI = 2.9−3.0) and walking for leisure (POR = 2.4; 95% CI = 2.3−2.4). The associations were stronger among men than among women.
Knowledge and participation in Curitiba's community PA programs were associated with meeting recommended levels of PA in leisure time.
Christine M. Hoehner, Ross C. Brownson, Diana Allen, James Gramann, Timothy K. Behrens, Myron F. Floyd, Jessica Leahy, Joseph B. Liddle, David Smaldone, Diara D. Spain, Daniel R. Tardona, Nicholas P. Ruthmann, Rachel L. Seiler and Byron W. Yount
We synthesized the results of 7 National Park Service pilot interventions designed to increase awareness of the health benefits from participation in recreation at national parks and to increase physical activity by park visitors.
A content analysis was conducted of the final evaluation reports of the 7 participating parks. Pooled data were also analyzed from a standardized trail-intercept survey administered in 3 parks.
The theme of new and diverse partnerships was the most common benefit reported across the 7 sites. The 2 parks that focused on youth showed evidence of an increase in awareness of the benefits of physical activity. Many of the other sites found high levels of awareness at baseline (approaching 90%), suggesting little room for improvement. Five of the 7 projects showed evidence of an increase in physical activity that was associated with the intervention activities. Multivariate analyses suggested that the media exposure contributed to a small but significant increase in awareness of the importance of physical activity (6%) and number of active visits (7%).
Enhancements and replication of these programs represents a promising opportunity for improving partnerships between public health and recreation to increase physical activity.