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Lawrence Frank and Sarah Kavage

Background:

Evidence shows significant relationships between aspects of the built environment and physical activity. Land use and transportation investments are needed to create environments that support and promote physical activity.

Methods:

The policy relevance of recent evidence on the built environment and physical activity is discussed, along with an assessment of near, medium, and longer term pricing and regulatory actions that could be considered to promote physical activity. These actions are evaluated based on their consistency with the current evidence on what would support and promote physical activity.

Results:

A wide range of pricing and regulatory strategies are presented that would promote physical activity. There is an unmet demand for activity friendly, walkable environments. Creating more walkable places is an essential component of a national plan to increase physical activity levels of Americans.

Conclusions:

The built environment is an enabler or disabler of physical activity. Creating more walkable environments is an essential step in averting what is currently a market failure where the supply and demand for walkable environments is misaligned. The desire to be more physically active would be supported through investments in walking, biking, and transit. Concentration of development within existing urban areas supported by transit and implementing pricing strategies can support physical activity.

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Lawrence Frank, Jacqueline Kerr, Dori Rosenberg and Abby King

Background:

Suburban development patterns may impede physical activity (PA) and mobility and affect healthy aging. This paper investigates the relationships between neighborhood design and walking, driving, PA, and obesity in adults over age 65 years.

Methods:

Data from the SMARTRAQ (Atlanta region) survey provided measures of PA, BMI, SES, and travel patterns. Neighborhood design was measured using a walkability index (residential density, street connectivity, retail density, and land use mix). Chi square and regression was used to evaluate relationships.

Results:

Increased walkability was related with more walking (OR 2.02), less time spent traveling in a car (OR .53), and lower odds of being overweight (OR .68). Those with 1 or no cars were more likely to walk (OR 2.9) and spend less time in cars (OR .53); but also less likely to get recommended levels of PA (OR .55). Visiting a fast food outlet was associated with increased odds of obesity (OR 1.81).

Conclusions:

Policies are needed to bring older Americans closer to shops and services and healthy food outlets as a means of encouraging regular walking and healthy body weight. Incentives to encourage neighborhood grocery stores and affordable housing in central areas along with regulatory reform through zoning can encourage PA and healthy body weight in the elderly.

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Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank, Christopher Auffrey, Robert C. Whitaker, Hillary L. Burdette and Natalie Colabianchi

Background:

Reliable and comprehensive measurement of physical activity settings is needed to examine environment-behavior relations.

Methods:

Surveyed park professionals (n = 34) and users (n = 29) identified park and playground elements (e.g., trail) and qualities (e.g., condition). Responses guided observational instrument development for environmental assessment of public recreation spaces (EAPRS). Item inter-rater reliability was evaluated following observations in 92 parks and playgrounds. Instrument revision and further reliability testing were conducted with observations in 21 parks and 20 playgrounds.

Results:

EAPRS evaluates trail/path, specific use (e.g., picnic), water-related, amenity (e.g., benches), and play elements, and their qualities. Most EAPRS items had good-excellent reliability, particularly presence/number items. Reliability improved from the original (n = 1088 items) to revised (n = 646 items) instrument for condition, coverage/shade, and openness/visibility items. Reliability was especially good for play features, but cleanliness items were generally unreliable.

Conclusions:

The EAPRS instrument provides comprehensive assessment of parks’ and playgrounds’ physical environment, with generally high reliability.

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Michael A. Khan, Gavin P. Lawrence, Ian M. Franks and Digby Elliott

The purpose of the present study was to establish the contribution of visual feedback in the correction of errors during movement execution (i.e., online) and the utilization of visual feedback from a completed movement in the programming of upcoming trials (i.e., offline). Participants performed 2 dimensional sweeping movements on a digitizing tablet through 1 of 3 targets, which were represented on a video monitor. The movements were performed with and without visual feedback under 4 criterion movement times (150, 250, 350, 450 msec). We analyzed the variability in directional error at 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% of the distance between the home position and the target. There were significant differences in variability between visual conditions at each movement time. However, in the 150-msec condition, the form of the variability profiles did not differ between visual conditions, suggesting that the contribution of visual feedback was due to offline processes. In the 250-, 350-, and 450-msec conditions, there was evidence for both online and offline control, as the form of the variability profiles differed between the vision and no vision conditions.

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Lawrence E. Armstrong, Jorge A. Herrera Soto, Frank T. Hacker Jr., Douglas J. Casa, Stavros A. Kavouras and Carl M. Maresh

This investigation evaluated the validity and sensitivity of urine color (Ucol), specific gravity (Usg), and osmolality (Uosm) as indices of hydration status, by comparing them to changes in body water. Nine highly trained males underwent a 42-hr protocol involving dehydration to 3.7% of body mass (Day 1, −2.64 kg), cycling to exhaustion (Day 2, −5.2% of body mass, −3.68 kg), and oral rehydration for 21 hr. The ranges of mean (across time) blood and urine values were Ucol, 1-7; Usg, 1.004-1.029; U08m, 117-1,081 mOsm • kg−1; and plasma osmolality (Posm), 280-298 mOsm ⋅ kg−1. Urine color tracked changes in body water as effectively as (or better than) Uosm, Usg, urine volume, Posm, plasma sodium, and plasma total protein. We concluded that (a) Ucol, Uosm, and Usg are valid indices of hydration status, and (b) marked dehydration, exercise, and rehydration had little effect on the validity and sensitivity of these indices.

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Marc A. Adams, Sherry Ryan, Jacqueline Kerr, James F. Sallis, Kevin Patrick, Lawrence D. Frank and Gregory J. Norman

Background:

Concurrent validity of Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) items was evaluated with objective measures of the built environment using geographic information systems (GIS).

Methods:

A sample of 878 parents of children 10 to 16 years old (mean age 43.5 years, SD = 6.8, 34.8% non-White, 63.8% overweight) completed NEWS and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. GIS was used to develop 1-mile street network buffers around participants’ residences. GIS measures of the built environment within participants’ buffers included percent of commercial and institutional land uses; number of schools and colleges, recreational facilities, parks, transit stops, and trees; land topography; and traffic congestion.

Results:

Except for trees and traffic, concordance between the NEWS and GIS measures were significant, with weak to moderate effect sizes (r = −0.09 to −0.36, all P ≤ 01). After participants were stratified by physical activity level, stronger concordance was observed among active participants for some measures. A sensitivity analysis of self-reported distance to 15 neighborhood destinations found a 20-minute (compared with 10- or 30-minute) walking threshold generally had the strongest correlations with GIS measures.

Conclusions:

These findings provide evidence of the concurrent validity of self-reported built environment items with objective measures. Physically active adults may be more knowledgeable about their neighborhood characteristics.

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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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Jeanette I. Candelaria, James F. Sallis, Terry L. Conway, Brian E. Saelens, Lawrence D. Frank and Donald J. Slymen

Background:

The study aim was to assess the relation of parent status to physical activity (PA) and the impact of parental roles, age and number of children on PA.

Methods:

Data for 909 women and 965 men, aged 20–57, were analyzed. Mixed Models were used to assess differences in PA between parents and adults without children, with analyses stratified by sex. The primary outcome was accelerometer-measured total daily minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA).

Results:

Parenthood was not related to MVPA, but mothers reported more total PA than nonmothers. For mothers and fathers, self-reported household activity was higher and sitting time lower, compared with nonparents. Both men and women with children aged 0–5 reported the highest household activity and the lowest sitting time, with household PA higher and sitting time lower with more children. There was no evidence that leisure, transport, or occupational activity varied by parenthood.

Conclusions:

Considering the potential impact of child-rearing on parent time demands, there was little difference in parents’ objectively measured MVPA compared with nonparents. Educational interventions or extracurricular programs for students and parents could target families with school-aged children. Development of tools to obtain parent reports of child care-specific PA behaviors would be useful.

Open access

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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Douglas J. Casa, Carl M. Maresh, Lawrence E. Armstrong, Stavros A. Kavouras, Jorge A. Herrera-Soto, Frank T. Hacker Jr., Timothy P. Scheett and James Stoppani

The purpose of this study was to determine if intravenous fluid rehydration, versus oral rehydration. during a brief period (20 min) differentially affects plasma ACTH, cortisol, and norepinephrine concentrations during subsequent exhaustive exercise in the heat. Following dehydration (DHY) to −4% of body weight, 8 nonacclimated highly trained males (age = 23.5 ± 1.2 years, V̇O2peak = 61.4±0.8 ml · kg · min−1, % body fat = 13.5±0.6%) cycled to exhaustion at 74% V̇O2peak in 36.8 °C on three different occasions. These included: (a) no fluid (NF), where no fluid was provided during the rehydration period; (b) DRINK, where oral rehydration (0.45% NaCl) was provided equal to 50% of the prior DHY; and (c) IV, where intravenous infusion (0.45% NaCl) was provided equal to 50%’ of the prior DHY. Exercise time to exhaustion was not different p = .07) between the DRINK (34.86 ±4.01) and IV (29.48 ± 3.50) trials, but both were significantly p < .05) longer than the NF (18.95 ± 2.73) trial. No differences (p > .05) were found for any of the hormone measures among trials. The endocrine responses at exhaustion were similar regardless of hydration state and mode of rehydration, but rehydration prolonged the exercise time to exhaustion.