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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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Pedro C. Hallal, Luis Fernando Gomez, Diana C. Parra, Felipe Lobelo, Janeth Mosquera, Alex A. Florindo, Rodrigo S. Reis, Michael Pratt and Olga L. Sarmiento

Background:

To describe the lessons learned after 10 years of use of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) in Brazil and Colombia, with special emphasis on recommendations for future research in Latin America using this instrument.

Methods:

We present an analytical commentary, based on data from a review of the Latin American literature, as well as expert consultation and the authors' experience in administering IPAQ to over 43,000 individuals in Brazil and Colombia between 1998 and 2008.

Results:

Validation studies in Latin America suggest that the IPAQ has high reliability and moderate criteria validity in comparison with accelerometers. Cognitive interviews suggested that the occupational and housework sections of the long IPAQ lead to confusion among respondents, and there is evidence that these sections generate overestimated scores of physical activity. Because the short IPAQ considers the 4 physical activity domains altogether, people tend to provide inaccurate answers to it as well.

Conclusions:

Use of the leisure-time and transport sections of the long IPAQ is recommended for surveillance and studies aimed at documenting physical activity levels in Latin America. Use of the short IPAQ should be avoided, except for maintaining consistency in surveillance when it has already been used at baseline.

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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.