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  • Author: Suzanne Mavoa x
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Melody Oliver, Hannah Badland, Suzanne Mavoa, Mitch J. Duncan and Scott Duncan

Background:

Global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), and accelerometers are powerful tools to explain activity within a built environment, yet little integration of these tools has taken place. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of combining GPS, GIS, and accelerometry to understand transport-related physical activity (TPA) in adults.

Methods:

Forty adults wore an accelerometer and portable GPS unit over 7 consecutive days and completed a demographics questionnaire and 7-day travel log. Accelerometer and GPS data were extracted for commutes to/from workplace and integrated into a GIS database. GIS maps were generated to visually explore physical activity intensity, GPS speeds and routes traveled.

Results:

GPS, accelerometer, and survey data were collected for 37 participants. Loss of GPS data was substantial due to a range of methodological issues, such as low battery life, signal drop out, and participant noncompliance. Nonetheless, greater travel distances and significantly higher speeds were observed for motorized trips when compared with TPA.

Conclusions:

Pragmatic issues of using GPS monitoring to understand TPA behaviors and methodological recommendations for future research were identified. Although methodologically challenging, the combination of GPS monitoring, accelerometry and GIS technologies holds promise for understanding TPA within the built environment.

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Jerome N. Rachele, Vincent Learnihan, Hannah M. Badland, Suzanne Mavoa, Gavin Turrell and Billie Giles-Corti

Background: There is growing urgency for higher quality evidence to inform policy. This study developed geographic information system spatial measures based on land use and transport policies currently used in selected Australian states to assess which, if any, of these measures were associated with walking for transport. Methods: Overall, 6901 participants from 570 neighborhoods in Brisbane, Australia, were included. Participants reported their minutes of walking for transport in the previous week. After a review of state-level land use and transport policies relevant to walking for transport across Australia, 7 geographic information system measures were developed and tested based on 9 relevant policies. Data were analyzed using multilevel multinomial logistic regression. Results: Greater levels of walking for transport were associated with more highly connected street networks, the presence of public transport stops, and having at least 2 public transport services per hour. Conversely, neighborhoods with shorter cul-de-sac lengths had lower levels of walking for transport. There was no evidence of associations between walking for transport and street block lengths less than 240 m or traffic volumes. Conclusions: These findings highlight the need for urban design and transport policies developed by governments to be assessed for their impact on transport-related physical activity.

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Scott Duncan, Kate White, Suzanne Mavoa, Tom Stewart, Erica Hinckson and Grant Schofield

Background:

The distance between home and school is the most consistent predictor of active transport in youth: the closer an individual lives to school, the more likely they are to use active transport. While this suggests that it is preferable to live as close to school as possible, the limited physical activity accumulated during short trips may not offer substantial benefits to active transporters.

Methods:

The current study investigated the predicted physical activity benefits associated with a range of home-school distances in 595 young people aged 5 to 16 years (Years 1 to 11). Physical activity was measured using sealed pedometers over 7 days. Participants’ home addresses and usual transport mode to and from school were collected via a questionnaire completed by parents (Years 1 to 6) and participants (Years 7 to 11).

Results:

A nonlinear relationship between predicted weekday activity and distance was detected, such that the high probability of active transport at short distances was offset by the low physical activity associated with walking short distances.

Conclusions:

A distance of approximately 2 km was associated with the best physical activity outcomes related to active transport (9% to 15% increase on weekdays). These findings have potential implications for future interventions and for planning residential developments or facilities.

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Melody Oliver, Karl Parker, Karen Witten, Suzanne Mavoa, Hannah M. Badland, Phil Donovan, Moushumi Chaudhury and Robin Kearns

Background:

The study aim was to determine the association between children’s objectively assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and active trips (AT) and independently mobile trips (IM) during out-of-school hours.

Methods:

Children aged 9 to 13 years (n = 254) were recruited from 9 schools in Auckland, New Zealand between 2011 and 2012. Children completed travel diaries and wore accelerometers for 7 days. Parents provided demographic information. Geographic information systems-derived distance to school was calculated. Accelerometer data were extracted for out of school hours only. Percentage of time spent in MVPA (%MVPA), AT, and IM were calculated. Generalized estimating equations were used to determine the relationship between daily %MVPA and AT and between daily %MVPA and IM, accounting for age, sex, ethnicity, distance to school, day of the week, and numeric day of data collection.

Results:

A significant positive relationship was observed between %MVPA and both AT and IM. For every unit increase in the daily percentage of trips made that were AT or IM, we found an average increase of 1.28% (95% CI 0.87%, 1.70%) and 1.15% (95% CI 0.71%, 1.59%) time in MVPA, respectively.

Conclusion:

Children’s AT and IM are associated with increased MVPA during out-of-school hours.