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Jill A. Kuhlberg, J. Aaron Hipp, Amy Eyler, and Genevieve Chang


The ciclovía, or open streets concept, is a community-level physical activity (PA) promotion strategy where streets are closed to motorized traffic and open for individuals to engage in PA. This paper presents an overview of such initiatives in the United States (US) to understand their potential in PA promotion, comparing event and city characteristics.


We searched ciclovía and open streets initiatives held in 2011 in the US using internet searches, publication databases, social media, and personal contacts. We extracted data on the each initiative’s frequency, route length, attendance, evaluation procedures, and sociodemographic characteristics of host cities.


Our search yielded 47 US cities with open streets in 2011. Cities were diverse in sociodemographic characteristics. Route lengths ranged from a few blocks to 51 miles and event frequency ranged from annual to monthly. Reporting number of participants for events was sporadic. Few events conducted formal evaluations.


The number of US cities hosting open streets is increasing. The sociodemographics of the host cities suggest a potential to increase physical activity in populations at risk for developing chronic diseases through these initiatives. However, further evaluation is required. Identifying successful promotion and evaluation tactics would boost the health promotion potential of these initiatives.

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Claudia O. Alberico, J. Aaron Hipp, and Rodrigo S. Reis

Background: Socioeconomic characteristics of locations where physical activity equipment is installed may affect the activity level of users. The purpose of this study was to verify patterns of use and physical activity levels in fitness zones installed in low- and high-income neighborhoods in the city of Curitiba, Brazil. Methods: Over 1200 observations were conducted in 20 fitness zones in the city of Curitiba, Brazil. Data were collected during the months of November and December 2012, in 4 periods of the day (8 AM, 11 AM, 2 PM, and 5 PM), on 2 weekdays and 2 weekend days. Results: A total of 2232 people were observed in the fitness zones. Age group, level of physical activity in the area, use of fitness zones during weekend days, and occupation of spaces were significantly associated with neighborhood income. Moreover, users of fitness zones located in high-income neighborhoods showed higher odds ratio (OR = 1.74; 95% confidence interval, 1.46–2.07) of moderate to vigorous physical activity than light or sedentary activities, regardless of gender or day of the week. Conclusions: The sole presence of equipment does not seem to favor the use of fitness zones in low-income neighborhoods. Future studies should investigate intrinsic factors for the use of fitness zones for physical activity.

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Lisa Groshong, Sonja A. Wilhelm Stanis, Andrew T. Kaczynski, J. Aaron Hipp, and Gina M. Besenyi


Public parks hold promise for promoting population-level PA, but studies show a significant portion of park use is sedentary. Past research has documented the effectiveness of message-based strategies for influencing diverse behaviors in park settings and for increasing PA in nonpark contexts. Therefore, to inform message-based interventions (eg, point-ofdecision prompts) to increase park-based PA, the purpose of this study was to elicit insights about key attitudes, perceived norms, and personal agency that affect park use and park-based PA in low-income urban neighborhoods.


This study used 6 focus groups with youth and adults (n = 41) from low-income urban areas in Kansas City, MO, to examine perceptions of key attitudinal outcomes and motivations, perceived norms, key referents, and personal agency facilitators and constraints that affect park use and park-based PA.


Participant attitudes reflected the importance of parks for mental and physical health, with social interaction and solitude cited as key motivations. Of 10 themes regarding perceived norms, influential others reflected participants’ ethnic makeup but little consensus emerged among groups. Social and safety themes were cited as both facilitators and constraints, along with park offerings and setting.


Information about attitudes, perceived norms, and personal agency can increase understanding of theoretically derived factors that influence park-based PA and help park and health professionals create communication strategies to promote PA.

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Jordan A. Carlson, J. Aaron Hipp, Jacqueline Kerr, Todd S. Horowitz, and David Berrigan

Objectives: To document challenges to and benefits from research involving the use of images by capturing examples of such research to assess physical activity– or nutrition-related behaviors and/or environments. Methods: Researchers (i.e., key informants) using image capture in their research were identified through knowledge and networks of the authors of this paper and through literature search. Twenty-nine key informants completed a survey covering the type of research, source of images, and challenges and benefits experienced, developed specifically for this study. Results: Most respondents used still images in their research, with only 26.7% using video. Image sources were categorized as participant generated (n = 13; e.g., participants using smartphones for dietary assessment), researcher generated (n = 10; e.g., wearable cameras with automatic image capture), or curated from third parties (n = 7; e.g., Google Street View). Two of the major challenges that emerged included the need for automated processing of large datasets (58.8%) and participant recruitment/compliance (41.2%). Benefit-related themes included greater perspectives on obesity with increased data coverage (34.6%) and improved accuracy of behavior and environment assessment (34.6%). Conclusions: Technological advances will support the increased use of images in the assessment of physical activity, nutrition behaviors, and environments. To advance this area of research, more effective collaborations are needed between health and computer scientists. In particular development of automated data extraction methods for diverse aspects of behavior, environment, and food characteristics are needed. Additionally, progress in standards for addressing ethical issues related to image capture for research purposes is critical.

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S. Morgan Hughey, Marilyn E. Wende, Ellen W. Stowe, Andrew T. Kaczynski, Jasper Schipperijn, and J. Aaron Hipp

Background: Neighborhood parks are recognized as important spaces for facilitating physical activity (PA); however, it remains unclear how the frequency of park use is associated with PA. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between minutes of moderate to vigorous PA and multiple park use indicators: (1) use of a neighborhood park, (2) unique number of neighborhood parks used, and (3) frequency of neighborhood park use. Methods: Adults were surveyed from 4 US cities (Brooklyn, NY; Greenville County, SC; Raleigh, NC; and Seattle, WA). Using a map-based survey platform, participants indicated all neighborhood parks they used and the frequency of use in the past 30 days. Participants self-reported their weekly moderate to vigorous PA. Quantile regression was used to examine associations between PA and park use indicators. Results: Of all respondents (N = 360), 60% indicated visiting a neighborhood park in the past 30 days, with an average of about 13 total neighborhood park visits (SD = 17.5). Significant, positive associations were found between moderate to vigorous PA and both unique neighborhood park visits and total number of neighborhood parks visits. Conclusions: Frequency of park visitation is associated with PA among US adults. Ensuring equitable and safe access to neighborhood parks has the potential for population-level PA health benefits.

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Catherine R. Marinac, Mirja Quante, Sara Mariani, Jia Weng, Susan Redline, Elizabeth M. Cespedes Feliciano, J. Aaron Hipp, Daniel Wang, Emily R. Kaplan, Peter James, and Jonathan A. Mitchell

Background: This study tested if the timing of meals, physical activity, light exposure, and sleep cluster within individuals and are associated with body mass index (BMI) in a sample of free-living adults (N = 125). Methods: Data were collected between November 2015 and March 2016 at the University of California, San Diego, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Washington University in St Louis. Height and weight were measured, and BMI (kg/m2) was calculated. Sleep timing was estimated using actigraphy, and timing of meals, physical activity, and light exposure were self-reported using a smartphone application. General linear models estimated the mean BMI across time categories of behaviors, adjusting for covariates. A latent class analysis was used to identify patterns of timing variables that clustered within individuals and test for associations between identified patterns and BMI. Results: Later exposure to outdoor light was associated with a lower BMI (P trend < .01). The timing of other behaviors was not independently associated with BMI. The latent class analysis identified 2 distinct groups related to behavioral timing, reflecting an “early bird” and “night owl” phenotype. These phenotypes were not associated with BMI (P > .05). Conclusion: Timing of exposures to light, meals, sleep, and physical activity were not strongly associated with BMI in this sample.

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Nisha Botchwey, Myron F. Floyd, Keshia Pollack Porter, Carmen L. Cutter, Chad Spoon, Tom L. Schmid, Terry L. Conway, J. Aaron Hipp, Anna J. Kim, M. Renee Umstattd Meyer, Amanda L. Walker, Tina J. Kauh, and Jim F. Sallis

Background: The Physical Activity Research Center developed a research agenda that addresses youth physical activity (PA) and healthy weight, and aligns with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Culture of Health. This paper summarizes prioritized research studies with a focus on youth at higher risk for inactive lifestyles and childhood obesity in urban and rural communities. Methods: Systematic literature reviews, a survey, and discussions with practitioners and researchers provided guidance on research questions to build evidence and inform effective strategies to promote healthy weight and PA in youth across race, cultural, and economic groups. Results: The research team developed a matrix of potential research questions, identified priority questions, and designed targeted studies to address some of the priority questions and inform advocacy efforts. The studies selected examine strategies advocating for activity-friendly communities, Play Streets, park use, and PA of youth in the summer. A broader set of research priorities for youth PA is proposed. Conclusion: Establishing the Physical Activity Research Center research agenda identified important initial and future research studies to promote and ensure healthy weight and healthy levels of PA for at-risk youth. Results will be disseminated with the goal of promoting equitable access to PA for youth.