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Jay E. Maddock, Bill Reger-Nash, Katie Heinrich, Kevin M. Leyden, and Thomas K. Bias

Background:

The U.S. Community Guide to Preventive Services strongly recommends changes in urban design, land use and accessibility to increase physical activity. To achieve these goals, policy change is often needed. This study assessed attitudes of decision makers in Hawaii to determine if physical activity related issues are among their priorities.

Methods:

State and county officials (n = 179) were mailed surveys. Respondents listed the three most important problems (open-ended) in Hawaii and rated the importance of 23 specified problems, of which six directly related to physical activity.

Results:

The survey was completed by 126 (70.4%) respondents. The most frequently mentioned categories for the open-ended questions were affordable housing, environment/sustainability, sprawl/traffic/population growth, and healthcare. Among the closed-ended physical activity related items, increasing traffic was ranked highest (43.9%) and fourth overall. Less than 12% of decision makers rated other physical activity issues as important.

Conclusions:

Future work is needed to increase the visibility and importance of physical activity related issues among policymakers.

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Ross C. Brownson, Cheryl M. Kelly, Amy A. Eyler, Cheryl Carnoske, Lisa Grost, Susan L. Handy, Jay E. Maddock, Delores Pluto, Brian A. Ritacco, James F. Sallis, and Thomas L. Schmid

Background:

Environmental and policy approaches are promising strategies to raise population-wide rates of physical activity; yet, little attention has been paid to the development and prioritization of a research agenda on these topics that will have relevance for both researchers and practitioners.

Methods:

Using input from hundreds of researchers and practitioners, a research agenda was developed for promoting physical activity through environmental and policy interventions. Concept mapping was used to develop the agenda.

Results:

Among those who brainstormed ideas, 42% were researchers and 33% were practitioners. The data formed a concept map with 9 distinct clusters. Based on ratings by both researchers and practitioners, the policy research cluster on city planning and design emerged as the most important, with economic evaluation second.

Conclusions:

Our research agenda sets the stage for new inquiries to better understand the environmental and policy influences on physical activity.