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  • Author: Rachel A. Millstein x
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Jacqueline Kerr, Greg Norman, Rachel Millstein, Marc A. Adams, Cindy Morgan, Robert D. Langer and Matthew Allison

Background:

Few studies of older adults have compared environmental correlates of walking and physical activity in women who may be more influenced by the environment. Environmental measures at different spatial levels have seldom been compared. Findings from previous studies are generally inconsistent.

Methods:

This study investigated the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in older women from the Women’s Health Initiative cohort in San Diego County (N = 5401). Built environment measures were created for 3 buffers around participants’ residential address. Linear regression analyses investigated the relationship between the built environment features and self-reported physical activity and walking.

Results:

Total walking was significantly positively associated with the walkability index (β = .050: half-mile buffer), recreation facility density (β = .036: 1-mile buffer), and distance to the coast (β = –.064; P-values < .05). Total physical activity was significantly negatively associated with distance to the coast and positively with recreation facility density (β = .036: 1-mile buffer; P < .05).

Conclusions:

Although effect sizes were small, we did find important relationships between walkability and walking in older adults, which supports recommendations for community design features to include age friendly elements. More intense physical activity may occur in recreational settings than neighborhood streets.

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Rachel A. Millstein, Katherine D. Hoerster, Dori E. Rosenberg, Karin M. Nelson, Gayle Reiber and Brian E. Saelens

Background:

Sedentary behavior is an increasingly recognized health risk factor, independent of physical activity. Although several correlates of sedentary behavior are known, little research has identified them among U.S. veterans, a population that faces disproportionate chronic disease burden.

Methods:

A survey was mailed to 1997 randomly selected veterans at a large urban Veterans Affairs medical center in 2012 and remailed in 2013 to nonresponders, resulting in a 40% response rate. We examined individual-, social-, and neighborhood-level factors in association with self-reported sitting time. Factors correlated with sitting time at P < .05 were included in a multiple linear regression model.

Results:

In the multivariate model, higher depression (B = 7.8), body mass index (B = 5.1), functional impairment (B = 4.2), and self-rated health (B = 68.5) were significantly associated with higher sitting time, and leisure time physical activity (B = –0.10) and being employed (B = –71.3) were significantly associated with lower sitting time.

Conclusions:

Individual-level, but not social- and neighborhood-level, variables were associated with sitting time in this population. This study identified individual-level targets for reducing sitting time and improving overall health among veterans.

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Rachel A. Millstein, Joe Strobel, Jacqueline Kerr, James F. Sallis, Gregory J. Norman, Nefertiti Durant, Sion Harris and Brian E. Saelens

This study examined the contributions of home, school, and neighborhood factors related to youth physical activity (PA). Adolescents (ages 12–18; N = 137) and parents of younger children (ages 5–11; N = 104) from three US metropolitan areas completed surveys. Youth PA was estimated from six items assessing overall physical activity. Bivariate analyses between environment factors and PA

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Rachel A. Millstein, Jeff C. Huffman, Anne N. Thorndike, Melanie Freedman, Carlyn Scheu, Sonia Kim, Hermioni L. Amonoo, Margot Barclay and Elyse R. Park

Background: Positive psychological constructs (eg, optimism, positive affect) may help people engage in physical activity, though the details of these relationships and their directionality have not been studied in depth in people with cardiovascular risk factors. The objectives of this study were to use qualitative research to explore the relationships of positive psychological constructs with physical activity among people with metabolic syndrome. Methods: Participants with metabolic syndrome and low physical activity from an academic medical center completed semistructured phone interviews about associations between physical activity and positive psychological constructs, and perceptions about benefits, motivation, and barriers to physical activity. Results: The participants (n = 21) were predominantly older (mean age = 63 y) white (95.2%) women (61.9%). Engaging in physical activity was commonly associated with enjoyment, energy, relaxation, accomplishment, and determination. Experiencing positive psychological constructs like enjoyment, energy, connectedness, optimism, and determination also helped them engage in physical activity. Perceived benefits, facilitators, and barriers of physical activity engagement were noted. Conclusions: The participants at high risk for chronic diseases described many specific positive psychological constructs that both promote and result from physical activity. Testing ways to increase positive psychological constructs may be a novel way to help people at high risk of chronic diseases become more active.