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Mohamed Kanu, Elizabeth Baker and Ross C. Brownson

Objective:

This study tested associations between church-based instrumental and informational social support and meeting physical activity guidelines.

Methods:

Cross-sectional data were analyzed for 1625 rural residents using logistic regression.

Results:

Associations were found between instrumental social support and performing some amount of physical activity but not between the 2 forms of support and meeting physical activity guidelines.

Conclusion:

Instrumental social support might help initiation of physical activity. Given that 54.1% of US adults get no leisure-time physical activity at the recommended minimum level, instrumental social support might be important in considering physical activity programs.

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Katherine A. Stamatakis, Timothy D. McBride and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

While effective interventions to promote physical activity have been identified, efforts to translate these interventions into policy have lagged behind. To improve the translation of evidence into policy, researchers and public health practitioners need to consider new ways for communicating health promoting messages to state and local policymakers.

Methods:

In this article, we describe issues related to the translation of evidence supporting physical activity promotion, and offer some communication approaches and tools that are likely to be beneficial in translating research to policy.

Results:

We discuss the use of narrative (ie, stories) and describe its potential role in improving communication of research in policy-making settings. In addition, we provide an outline for the development and design of policy briefs on physical activity, and for how to target these briefs effectively to policy-oriented audiences.

Conclusions:

Improvements in researchers' and practitioners' abilities to translate the evidence they generate into high-quality materials for policy makers can greatly enhance efforts to enact policies that promote physical activity.

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Fuzhong Li, K. John Fisher and Ross C. Brownson

The article reports on a multilevel analysis conducted to examine change in neighborhood walking activity over a 12-month period in a community-based sample of 28 neighborhoods of 303 older adults age 65 and over. The study employed a multilevel (residents nested within neighborhoods) and longitudinal (4 repeated measures over 1 year) design and a multilevel analysis of change and predictors of change in neighborhood walking activity. Results indicated a significant neighborhood effect, with neighborhood-level walking characterized by a downward trajectory over time. Inclusion of baseline variables using selected perceived neighborhood-level social- and physical-environment measures indicated that neighborhoods with safe walking environments and access to physical activity facilities had lower rates of decline in walking activity. The findings provide preliminary evidence of neighborhood-level change and predictors of change in walking activity in older adults. They also suggest the importance of analyzing change in physical activity in older adults from a multilevel or macrolevel framework.

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Pedro C. Hallal, Diana C. Parra, Mario R. Azevedo, Michael Pratt and Ross C. Brownson

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Adriano Akira Ferreira Hino, Rodrigo S. Reis, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Diana C. Parra, Ross C. Brownson and Rogerio C. Fermino

Background:

Open public spaces have been identified as important facilities to promote physical activity (PA) at the community level. The main goals of this study are to describe open public spaces user's characteristics and to explore to what extent these characteristics are associated with PA behavior.

Methods:

A system of direct observation was used to evaluate the PA levels on parks and squares (smaller parks) and users's characteristics (gender and age). The 4 parks and 4 squares observed were selected from neighborhoods with different socioeconomic status and environmental characteristics. The settings were observed 3 times a day, 6 days per week, during 2 weeks.

Results:

More men than women were observed in parks (63.1%) and squares (70.0%) as well as more adults and adolescents than older adults and children. Users were more physically active in parks (men = 34.1%, women = 36.1%) than in squares (men = 25.5%, women 22.8%).

Conclusions:

The characteristics of public open spaces may affect PA in the observed places. Initiatives to improve PA levels in community settings should consider users' characteristics and preferences to be more effective and reach a larger number of people.

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Christine Hoehner, Jesus Soares, Diana C. Parra, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Michael Pratt, Mario Bracco, Pedro C. Hallal and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

This review assessed whether conference abstracts yield useful information on the types and effectiveness of community-based physical activity (PA) interventions in Latin America, beyond that from interventions included in a recent systematic review of peer-reviewed literature.

Methods:

Abstracts from 9 conferences were searched for community-based interventions to promote PA in Latin America and summarized. Three reviewers classified and screened abstracts. Evaluated interventions that were not included in the previous review were assessed.

Results:

Search of abstracts from 31 proceedings of 9 conferences identified 87 abstracts of studies on community-based interventions focused on increasing PA. Only 31 abstracts reported on studies with a control group and an outcome related to PA. Ten of these abstracts represented interventions that had not been included in the previous review of peer-reviewed literature, but the abstracts were insufficient in number or detail to make a practice recommendation for any single intervention.

Conclusions:

This review highlighted the challenges and low added value of including conference abstracts in a systematic review of community PA interventions in Latin America. Stronger evaluation design and execution and more published reports of evaluated interventions are needed to build an evidence base supporting interventions to increase PA in Latin America.

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Tegan K. Boehmer, Christine M. Hoehner, Kathleen W. Wyrwich, Laura K. Brennan Ramirez and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

Neighborhood environmental supports for physical activity are assessed via telephone surveys (perceived) and environmental audits (observed), but the correspondence between methods is not known.

Methods.

Surveys (N = 1068) and audits were conducted concurrently in four diverse urban settings to measure recreational facilities, land use, transportation environment, and aesthetics. Agreement was assessed with kappa (κ) statistics.

Results.

Kappa values ranged from –0.06 to 0.47 for the 28 item-pairs: 17 item-pairs were classified as poor agreement (κ ≤ 0.20), 10 as fair (κ = 0.21-0.40), and 1 as good (κ = 0.47). The highest agreement was observed for proximity to parks, trails, and various land-use destinations, presence of sidewalks, and measures of neighborhood maintenance and cleanliness.

Conclusions.

Methodological issues and/or the likelihood of capturing distinct aspects of the environment may explain the generally low correspondence between survey and audit measures. Our findings should help researchers make informed decisions regarding measurement of environmental supports for physical activity.

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Reid Ewing, Susan Handy, Ross C. Brownson, Otto Clemente and Emily Winston

Background:

In active living research, measures used to characterize the built environment have been mostly gross qualities such as neighborhood density and park access. This project has developed operational definitions and measurement protocols for subtler urban design qualities believed to be related to walkability.

Methods:

Methods included: 1) recruiting an expert panel; 2) shooting video clips of streetscapes; 3) rating urban design qualities of streetscapes by the expert panel; 4) measuring physical features of streetscapes from the video clips; 5) testing inter-rater reliability of physical measurements and urban design quality ratings; 6) statistically analyzing relationships between physical features and urban design quality ratings, 7) selecting of qualities for operationalization, and 8) developing of operational definitions and measurement protocols for urban design qualities based on statistical relationships.

Results:

Operational definitions and measurement protocols were developed for five of nine urban design qualities: imageability, visual enclosure, human scale, transparency, and complexity.

Conclusions:

A field survey instrument has been developed, tested in the field, and further refined for use in active living research.

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Jesus Soares, Eduardo J. Simões, Luiz Roberto Ramos, Michael Pratt and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

We used data from a random telephone survey of 2045 adults in Recife, Brazil to investigate the associations of health-related quality of life (HRQoL) with selected factors.

Methods:

We generated odds ratios of 4 HRQoL measures (perception of overall health, mentally unhealthy days, physically unhealthy days, and physically and mentally unhealthy days impeding usual activities) by levels of environmental factors (number of destinations, neighborhood aesthetics, neighborhood crime safety, neighborhood traffic interference, and neighborhood walkability), physical activity behavior, and participation in the Academia da Cidade Program (ACP).

Results:

Perception of overall health was associated with age, gender, education, body mass index (BMI) level, chronic disease, and having heard or seen an ACP activity. Mentally unhealthy days were associated with age, sex, BMI level, neighborhood aesthetics, and neighborhood crime safety. Physically unhealthy days were associated with age, sex, chronic diseases, leisure time physical activity, and neighborhood crime safety, and neighborhood traffic interference. Physically and mentally unhealthy days impeding usual activities were associated with chronic disease neighborhood crime safety, and traffic interference.

Conclusions:

The associations of HRQoL with environmental factors and health promoting programs may have public health policy implications and highlight the need for additional research into HRQoL in Brazil.

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Amy A. Eyler, Elizabeth Budd, Gabriela J. Camberos, Yan Yan and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

Strategies to improve physical activity prevalence often include policy and environmental changes. State-level policies can be influential in supporting access and opportunities for physical activity in schools and communities. The purpose of this study was to explore the prevalence of state legislation related to physical activity and identify the correlates of enactment of this legislation.

Methods:

An online legislative database was used to collect bills from 50 states in the U.S. from 2006 to 2012 for 1010 topics related to physical activity. Bills were coded for content and compiled into a database with state-level variables (eg, obesity prevalence). With enactment status as the outcome, bivariate and multivariate analyses were conducted.

Results:

Of the 1,542 bills related to physical activity introduced, 30% (N = 460) were enacted. Bills on public transportation and trails were more likely to be enacted than those without these topics. Primary sponsorship by the Republican Party, bipartisan sponsorship, and mention of specific funding amounts were also correlates of enactment.

Conclusion:

Policy surveillance of bills and correlates of enactment are important for understanding patterns in legislative support for physical activity. This information can be used to prioritize advocacy efforts and identify ways for research to better inform policy.