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Susan G. Zieff and Claudia M. Guedes

Physical activity (PA) is a proven strategy for reducing risk of chronic disease. Many older adults do not reach recommended levels of activity to achieve health benefits. There is growing interest among scholars and practitioners about the potential of technology to increase PA and improve health. This study investigated knowledge of, attitudes toward, and experiences with PA technology among a sample of older adults to determine potential for use in interventions. Overall, participants indicated that they learned about their levels of PA, held positive attitudes toward, and reported good experiences with PA technology, including desired behavior change. Negative outcomes included concerns about risk from using PA technology. Outcomes from this study suggest the need for updated views of older adults and technology and potential health benefits from using PA technology.

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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.