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Mona Seymour, Kim D. Reynolds and Jennifer Wolch

Background:

Reliable audit tools are needed to examine the potential of built environment features for physical activity.

Methods:

An audit tool for alley environments was developed with land use, substrate, and use, condition, and safety items. Two audit teams independently audited 29 Los Angeles alleys, and interteam reliability was calculated with Cohen’s and prevalence-adjusted, bias-adjusted kappa (PABAK) statistics; intraclass correlation coefficients; and percent observed agreement.

Results:

Forty-two of 47 dichotomous items analyzed for reliability had PABAK values ≥ 0.61 (“substantial agreement”). Sixteen of 23 ordinal and continuous response items analyzed had ICCs ≥ 0.61, and an additional 6 with lower ICC values had observed agreement ≥ 79%. Items concerning the presence or absence of use-related alley features demonstrated the lowest reliability.

Conclusions:

The instrument has acceptable reliability for most of its items and appears to be a promising tool for use by other researchers and professionals in the measurement of alley environments.

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Genevieve F. Dunton, Michael Cousineau and Kim D. Reynolds

Background:

Policy strategies aimed at modifying aspects of the social, physical, economic, and educational environments have been proposed as potential solutions to the growing problem of physical inactivity. To develop effective physical activity policies in these and other areas, greater understanding of how and why policies successfully impact behavior change is needed.

Methods:

The current paper proposes a conceptual framework explaining how policy strategies map onto health behavior theoretical variables and processes thought to lead to physical activity change. This framework is used to make hypotheses about the potential effectiveness of different policy strategies.

Results:

Health behavior theories suggest that policies providing information may be particularly useful for individuals who are not yet considering or have only recently begun to consider becoming more physically active. Policies that provide opportunities may be less effective for individuals who do not find physical activity to be inherently fun and interesting. Policies that offer incentives or require the behavior may not be particularly useful at promoting long-term changes in physical activity.

Conclusion:

Exploring possible connections between policy strategies and theoretical constructs can help to clarify how each approach might work and for whom it may be the most appropriate to implement.

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Genevieve Fridlund Dunton, Donna Spruijt-Metz, Jennifer Wolch, Chih-Ping Chou, Michael Jerrett, Jason Byrne, Susan Weaver and Kim D. Reynolds

Background:

Efforts to increase community levels of physical activity through the development of multiuse urban trails could be strengthened by information about factors predicting trail use. This study examined whether reasons for trail use predict levels of physical activity on urban trails.

Methods:

Adults (N = 335) living within a 1-mile buffer zone of urban trails in Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles completed a self-report measure assessing demographics, reason for trail use, and physical activity on the trail. Accelerometers measured total daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Environmental features of the urban trail were assessed with the Systematic Pedestrian and Cyclist Environmental Scan for trails measure. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted that accounted for clustering of individuals within trail segments.

Results:

After controlling for demographic and environmental factors and total daily MVPA, reasons for trail use significantly predicted recreational but not transportation activity. Recreational trail activity was greater for participants who reported exercise and health reasons for trail use as compared with other reasons (ie, social interaction, enjoying nature, walking pets) for recreational trail use.

Conclusions:

To increase the use of urban trails, it may be useful to promote the health and exercise benefits of recreational trail use.