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Janeth Mosquera, Diana C. Parra, Luis Fernando Gomez, Olga Sarmiento, Tom Schmid and Enrique Jacoby

Background:

The health benefits of physical activity are well documented in scientific literature. Bicycling for transportation is a modality of physical activity that people can incorporate easily into their daily lives.

Methods:

A qualitative study using 11 semi-structured individual interviews and 5 focus groups was conducted among 31 male and 13 female adult residents of Bogotá, Colombia in 2006, to explore barriers and facilitators of bicycle use for transportation purposes. People were selected based on socioeconomic status, age, and gender. Thematic analysis complemented with thematic network analysis was used to analyze the data.

Results:

Six main themes emerged from the study: 1) general acknowledgment of individual and collective benefits of bicycle use, 2) built environment conditions were linked with bicycle use, 3) some social factors affect bicycling negatively, 4) people perceived conflicts over public space related to the use of bike-paths, 5) general negative public perception of bicyclists, and 6) gender differences influence patterns of bicycle use.

Conclusion:

The findings from this qualitative study show that various social and physical barriers must be addressed to increase bicycle use as a means of transportation in Bogotá.

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Olga Sarmiento, Andrea Torres, Enrique Jacoby, Michael Pratt, Thomas L. Schmid and Gonzalo Stierling

Background:

The Ciclovía-Recreativa is a free, community-based program in which streets are closed temporarily to motorized transport, allowing access to walkers, runners, rollerbladers, and cyclists only. We assessed existing information about the Ciclovía as a public health strategy and proposed next steps for research and public health practice.

Methods:

We conducted a systematic search of peer-reviewed and other literature, which was complemented by expert interviews and consultation.

Results:

We reviewed 38 Ciclovías from 11 countries. Most programs (84.2%) take place in urban settings. The programs range from 18−64 events per year (54 ± 24.6; 52 [mean ± standard deviation; median]) with events lasting from 2−12 hours (6 ± 2.4; 6). The length of the streets ranges from 1−121 km (14.6 ± 22.1; 7), and the estimated number of participants per event ranges from 60-1,000,000 persons (61,203 ± 186,668; 3810). Seventy-one percent of the programs include physical activity classes and in 89% of the Ciclovías, the streets are connected with parks.

Conclusions:

Ciclovías have potential for positive public health outcomes, but evidence on their effectiveness is limited. The different stages of new and established programs offer a unique opportunity for transnational studies aimed at assessing their public health impact.

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Olga L. Sarmiento, Thomas L. Schmid, Diana C. Parra, Adriana Díaz-del-Castillo, Luis Fernando Gómez, Michael Pratt, Enrique Jacoby, José D. Pinzón and John Duperly

Background:

Studies assessing the association between health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) with physical activity (PA) and built environment (BE) characteristics are limited.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1,334 adults from Bogotá, to assess the associations between HR-QOL with PA and BE characteristics. HR-QOL was measured using the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instruments. PA was measured using the International PA Questionnaire. BE characteristics included the dimensions of density, diversity, design, and access to mass-transit. Analysis included multilevel modeling.

Results:

Adults who reported meeting PA recommendations and participating in the Ciclovía were more likely to have a high mean score of HR-QOL and were more likely to perceive their health status as good/excellent. Adults who reported biking for transportation were more likely to have a high mean score of HR-QOL. Regarding BE characteristics, land-use heterogeneity was associated with HR-QOL, perceived good health status and being positive about the future. Park density was associated with HR-QOL, perceived health status good/excellent and being positive about the future. Mass-transit stations availability was negatively associated with HR-QOL.

Conclusion:

This study provides preliminary evidence that HR-QOL is associated with PA and BE characteristics among adults in an urban setting of the developing world.

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Luis F. Gomez, Olga L. Sarmiento, Diana C. Parra, Thomas L. Schmid, Michael Pratt, Enrique Jacoby, Andrea Neiman, Robert Cervero, Janeth Mosquera, Candance Rutt, Mauricio Ardila and José D. Pinzón

Background:

Even though there is increasing evidence that the built environment (BE) has an influence on leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), little is known about this relationship in developing countries. The objective of this study was to assess the associations between objective built environment characteristics and LTPA.

Methods:

A cross-sectional multilevel study was conducted in 27 neighborhoods in which 1315 adults aged 18−65 years were surveyed. An adapted version of the IPAQ (long version) was used to assess LTPA. Objective BE characteristics were obtained using Geographic Information Systems. Associations were assessed using multilevel polytomous logistic regression.

Results:

Compared with inactive people, those who resided in neighborhoods with the highest tertile dedicated to parks (7.4% to 25.2%) were more likely to be regularly active (POR = 2.05, 95% CI = 1.13−3.72; P = 0.021). Those who resided in neighborhoods with presence of TransMilenio stations (mass public transportation system) were more likely to be irregularly active (POR = 1.27, 95% CI = 1.07−1.50, P = 0.009) as compared with inactive people.

Conclusions:

These findings showed that park density and availability of TransMilenio stations at neighborhood level are positively associated with LTPA. Public health efforts to address physical inactivity should consider the potential influences of urban planning and mass public transportation systems on health.