Physical activity (PA) is a proven strategy for reducing risk of chronic disease. Many older adults do not reach recommended levels of activity to achieve health benefits. There is growing interest among scholars and practitioners about the potential of technology to increase PA and improve health. This study investigated knowledge of, attitudes toward, and experiences with PA technology among a sample of older adults to determine potential for use in interventions. Overall, participants indicated that they learned about their levels of PA, held positive attitudes toward, and reported good experiences with PA technology, including desired behavior change. Negative outcomes included concerns about risk from using PA technology. Outcomes from this study suggest the need for updated views of older adults and technology and potential health benefits from using PA technology.
Susan G. Zieff and Claudia M. Guedes
Shaun E. Edmonds and Susan G. Zieff
In recent years, individuals who do not conform to healthist body shape and weight norms are the target of an increasingly fervent moral panic about “obesity” (Gard & Wright, 2005). As a subculture within the gay male community (Wright, 1997a), the “Bear” community offers a site for examining biopolitical resistance to the pervasive body ideals (and associated fat stigma) embedded within, and perpetuated by, mainstream gay values. Utilizing in-depth interviews and participant observation, this study explores the ways in which Bears negotiate physical activity and body image within the ostensibly fat-positive Bear community. In analyzing the stories and spaces of the Bear community, I find diverse experiences that reveal a complex relationship between sexuality, body image, and engagement in physical activity.
Susan G. Zieff, Claudia M. Guedes and Amy Eyler
Neighborhood environment and resources affect physical activity. This study examined the relationships between San Francisco residents’ perceived barriers to physical activity and policy-maker perspectives of conditions in neighborhoods that are under-served for physical activity.
Nine focus groups comprised of primarily African American, Chinese American, and Latino populations were constructed from 6 low-income neighborhoods to respond to questions based on the social-ecological model about neighborhood recreational opportunities and to offer policy and intervention strategies to increase physical activity. A tenth focus group was conducted with staff members from 7 city departments to respond to neighborhood focus groups outcomes. The transcribed videotaped discussions were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.
Both residents and policy-makers highlighted neighborhood disparities that reduce physical activity including unsafe and unhealthy environments and difficulty accessing available resources. Residents reported fewer available free or low-cost resources than those identified by policy-makers.
Findings suggest that policy-makers would benefit from consideration of neighborhood-level affects of policies on physical activity and local residents’ recommendations for policies affecting physical activity. Concordance between residents’ perceptions and policy-maker perceptions of neighborhood conditions for physical activity was greater than reported in previous literature.
Susan G. Zieff, Mi-Sook Kim, Jackson Wilson and Patrick Tierney
Temporary parks such as the monthly event, Sunday Streets SF, support public health goals by using existing infrastructure and street closures to provide physical activity in neighborhoods underserved for recreational resources. Sunday Streets creates routes to enhance community connection.
Six hundred and thirty-nine participants at 3 Sunday Streets events were surveyed using a 36-item instrument of open- and closed-ended questions about overall physical activity behavior, physical activity while at Sunday Streets, experience of the events, and demographic data.
Overall, Sunday Streets participants are physically active (79% engage in activity 3–7 days/week) and approximately represent the ethnic minority distribution of the city. There were significant differences between first-time attendees and multiple-event attendees by duration of physical activity at the event (55.83 minutes vs. 75.13 minutes) and by frequency of physical activity bouts per week (3.69 vs. 4.22). Both groups emphasized the positive experience and safe environment as reasons to return to the event; for first-time attendees, the social environment was another reason to return.
Temporary parks like Sunday Streets have the potential to provide healthful, population-wide physical activity using existing streets. The trend toward increased activity by multiple-event attendees suggests the importance of a regular schedule of events.
Amy Eyler, Jamie Chriqui, Jay Maddock, Angie Cradock, Kelly R. Evenson, Jeanette Gustat, Steven Hooker, Rodney Lyn, Michelle Segar, Nancy O’Hara Tompkins and Susan G. Zieff
In the United States, health promotion efforts often begin with state-level strategic plans. Many states have obesity, nutrition, or other topic-related plans that include physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to assess PA content in these state plans and make recommendations for future plan development.
Publically available plans were collected in 2010. A content analysis tool was developed based on the United States National PA Plan and included contextual information and plan content. All plans were double coded for reliability and analyzed using SPSS.
Forty-three states had a statewide plan adopted between 2002 and 2010, none of which focused solely on PA. Over 80% of PA-specific strategies included policy or environmental changes. Most plans also included traditional strategies to increase PA (eg, physical education, worksite). Few plans included a specific focus on land use/community design, parks/recreation, or transportation. Less than one-half of plans included transportation or land use/community design partners in plan development.
Though the majority of states had a PA-oriented plan, comprehensiveness varied by state. Most plans lacked overarching objectives on the built environment, transportation, and land use/community design. Opportunities exist for plan revision and alignment with the National PA Plan sectors and strategies.