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  • Author: Karen Glanz x
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Jason Vargo, Brian Stone and Karen Glanz

Background:

We investigate the association of different composite walkability measures with individual walking behaviors to determine if multicomponent metrics of walkability are more useful for assessing the health impacts of the built environment than single component measures.

Methods:

We use a previously published composite walkability measure as well as a new measure that was designed to represent easier methods of combination and which includes 2 metrics obtained using Google data sources. Logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between walking behavior and walkability metrics.

Results:

Our results suggest that composite measures of walkability are more consistent predictors of walking behavior than single component measures. Furthermore, a walkability measure developed using free, publicly available data from Google was found to be nearly as effective in predicting walking outcomes as a walkability measure derived without such publicly and nationally available measures.

Conclusions:

Our findings demonstrate the effectiveness of free and locally relevant data for assessing walkable environments. This facilitates the use of locally derived and adaptive tools for evaluating the health impacts of the built environment.

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Kathleen Scanlin, Regine Haardoerfer, Michelle C. Kegler and Karen Glanz

Background:

Recently, investigators have begun to refine audit instruments for use in rural areas. However, no studies have developed a walkability summary score or have correlated built environment characteristics with physical activity behavior.

Methods:

The Rural Pedestrian Environmental Audit Instrument was developed specifically for use in rural areas. Segments surrounding participant’s homes were selected to represent neighborhood streets (N = 116). Interrater reliability was conducted on a subset of streets (N = 42). Rural-specific domain and walkability scores were developed and correlated with individual-level data on perceptions of the neighborhood and self-reported physical activity behavior.

Results:

Interrater reliability for the instrument was substantial and all domains had high agreement. Walkability in the audited area was low with even the best segments demonstrating only moderate support for walking. There were no significant correlations between the neighborhood walkability score and self-reported neighborhood walkability, time spent walking, sedentary behavior, or BMI; however, a few correlations within the social/dynamic domain were significant.

Conclusions:

This study expands recent research refining audit instruments for rural areas. Findings suggest the usefulness of summarizing environmental data at the domain level and linking it to physical activity behavior to identify aspects of the neighborhood environment that are most strongly correlated with actual behavior.

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Michelle C. Kegler, Deanne W. Swan, Iris Alcantara, Louise Wrensford and Karen Glanz

Background:

This study examines the relative contribution of social (eg, social support) and physical (eg, programs and facilities) aspects of worksite, church, and home settings to physical activity levels among adults in rural communities.

Methods:

Data are from a cross-sectional survey of 268 African American and Caucasian adults, ages 40–70, living in southwest Georgia. Separate regression models were developed for walking, moderate, vigorous, and total physical activity as measured in METs-minutes-per-week.

Results:

Social support for physical activity was modest in all 3 settings (mean scores 1.5–1.9 on a 4-point scale). Participants reported limited (<1) programs and facilities for physical activity at their worksites and churches. An interaction of physical and social aspects of the home setting was observed for vigorous and moderate physical activity and total METs. There were also interactions between gender and social support at church for vigorous activity among women, and between race and the physical environment at church for moderate physical activity. A cross-over interaction was found between home and church settings for vigorous physical activity. Social support at church was associated with walking and total METs.

Conclusions:

Homes and churches may be important behavioral settings for physical activity among adults in rural communities.

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Cheryl Carnoske, Christine Hoehner, Nicholas Ruthmann, Lawrence Frank, Susan Handy, James Hill, Sherry Ryan, James Sallis, Karen Glanz and Ross Brownson

Background:

Although public support for physical activity-friendly Traditional Neighborhood Developments (TNDs) appears to be growing, information is lacking on private sector perspectives and how economic factors (eg, fuel prices) might influence the development and sale of TNDs.

Methods:

A sample of realtors from the National Association of Realtors (n = 4950) and developers from the National Association of Home Builders (n = 162) were surveyed in early 2009 to assess factors influencing homebuyers' decisions; incentives and barriers to developing TNDs; effects of depressed housing market conditions and financing on sales; trends in buying; and energy considerations (eg, green building).

Results:

Realtors believed that homebuyers continue to rank affordability, safety and school quality higher than TND amenities. Developers reported numerous barriers to TNDs, including the inability to overcome governmental/political hurdles, lack of cooperation between government agencies, and lack of market demand. Yet, realtors believed clients are increasingly influenced by gas and oil prices, and developers reported that clients are looking for energy efficient homes, reduced commute time, and walkable neighborhoods. Respondents reported consumers are more interested in living in a TND than 5 years ago.

Conclusions:

Activity-friendly TNDs appear to be increasing in demand, but developers and realtors reported significant barriers to creating these communities.

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Stephanie Kneeshaw-Price, Brian Saelens, James Sallis, Karen Glanz, Lawrence Frank, Jacqueline Kerr, Peggy Hannon, David Grembowski, KC Gary Chan and Kelli Cain

Knowledge of where children are active may lead to more informed policies about how and where to intervene and improve physical activity. This study examined where children aged 6–11 were physically active using time-stamped accelerometer data and parent-reported place logs and assessed the association of physical-activity location variation with demographic factors. Children spent most time and did most physical activity at home and school. Although neighborhood time was limited, this time was more proportionally active than time in other locations (e.g., active 42.1% of time in neighborhood vs. 18.1% of time at home). Children with any neighborhood-based physical activity had higher average total physical activity. Policies and environments that encourage children to spend time outdoors in their neighborhoods could result in higher overall physical activity.

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Christina M. Thornton, Kelli L. Cain, Terry L. Conway, Jacqueline Kerr, Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank, Karen Glanz and James F. Sallis

Background:

The after-school period provides an opportune context for adolescent physical activity. This study examined how characteristics of after-school recreation environments related to adolescent physical activity.

Methods:

Participants were 889 adolescents aged 12 to 17 (mean = 14.1, SD = 1.4) from 2 US regions. Adolescents reported on whether their school offered after-school supervised physical activity, access to play areas/fields, and presence of sports facilities. Outcomes were accelerometer-measured after-school physical activity, reported physical activity on school grounds during nonschool hours, attainment of 60 minutes of daily physical activity excluding school physical education, and BMI-for-age z-score. Mixed regression models adjusted for study design, region, sex, age, ethnicity, vehicles/licensed drivers in household, and distance to school.

Results:

School environment variables were all significantly associated with self-reported physical activity on school grounds during non-school hours (P < .001) and attainment of 60 minutes of daily physical activity (P < .05). Adolescents’ accelerometer-measured after-school physical activity was most strongly associated with access to supervised physical activity (P = .008).

Conclusions:

Policies and programs that provide supervised after-school physical activity and access to play areas, fields, and sports facilities may help adolescents achieve daily physical activity recommendations.

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Kavita A. Gavand, Kelli L. Cain, Terry L. Conway, Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank, Jacqueline Kerr, Karen Glanz and James F. Sallis

Background: To examine relations between parents’ perceived neighborhood recreation environments and multiple measures of adolescent physical activity (PA). Methods: Participants (N = 928; age 14.1 [1.4] y, 50.4% girls, and 33.4% nonwhite/Hispanic) and their parents were recruited. Teen moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) was assessed with 7-day accelerometry. Self-reported total PA, PA near home, and PA at recreation locations were also assessed. Proximity of home to 8 types of recreation facilities was reported by parents. Mixed-model linear regressions relating environments to various measures of PA were adjusted for demographics and neighborhood clustering. Results: Perceiving more availability of recreation facilities around home was related to higher reports of days per week with 60+ minutes of PA (b = 0.153; P < .05), reported PA time near home (b = 0.152; P < .001), PA time at recreation facilities (b = 0.161; P < .001), accelerometer-measured total MVPA (b = 1.741; P < .05), and nonschool MVPA (b = 1.508; P < .01). Adolescents living in lowest quintile of recreation facility availability averaged 27.6 (3.2) minutes per day of total MVPA versus 49.8 (3.5) minutes per day for those living in highest quintile. Conclusions: Adolescents living in neighborhoods that parents reported having more availability of recreation facilities around homes had higher activity across 5 indicators of PA.