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Kristen Day

Background: Noncommunicable diseases and obesity are considered problems of wealthy, developed countries. These conditions are rising dramatically in developing countries. Most existing research on the role of the physical environment to support physical activity examines developed countries only. Objectives: This review identifies physical environment factors that are associated with physical activity in developing countries. Methods: This review is modeled on a highly cited review by Saelens and Handy in 2008. The current review analyzes findings from 159 empirical studies in the 138 developing countries. Results: Results discuss the association of physical environment features and physical activity for all developing countries and identify the patterns within regions. The review supports the association of traffic safety with physical activity for transportation. Rural (vs urban) residence, distance to nonresidential land uses, and “composite” features of the physical environment are associated with general physical activity. Rural (vs urban) residence is associated with physical activity for work. Conclusions: More research is needed on associations between the physical environment and physical activity in developing countries. Research should identify specific physical environment features in urban areas that are associated with higher activity levels.

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Kristen Day, Lawrence Loh, Ryan Richard Ruff, Randi Rosenblum, Sean Fischer and Karen K. Lee

Background:

Cities across the U.S. and internationally are adopting Bus Rapid Transit to improve transit services for residents. Features of Bus Rapid Transit include fewer stops, dedicated bus lanes, and expedited systems for boarding busses, compared with regular bus service. This study examines whether Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) ridership is associated with increased rates of walking, because of the greater distance between BRT stops compared with regular bus service.

Methods:

Surveys were conducted with riders of local and BRT buses for New York City’s M15 Select Bus Service line. Surveys examined bus ridership, health status and physical activity, walking rates, and demographic information.

Results:

BRT riders reported walking approximately half a block more than did local bus riders. The average number of blocks walked decreased for BRT riders who previously used the subway before the implementation of the BRT.

Conclusions:

BRT may be a useful tool to support walking for some groups. Depending on where it is implemented, BRT may also be associated with reduced walking among users who switch to BRT from other active transportation modes. Future research should examine associations between walking and BRT ridership with a larger sample and more sites.