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Akio Kubota, Alison Carver and Takemi Sugiyama

This cross-sectional study examined associations of local social engagement with walking and sitting, and whether these associations were modified by local environmental attributes. Older residents (aged 65–84 years, n = 849), recruited from a regional city in Japan, reported walking frequency, sitting time, local social engagement, and local environmental attributes. Walk Score® was also used as an environmental measure. Analysis of data from 705 participants found that engaging in community activities was significantly associated with more frequent walking, but not with prolonged sitting. Interaction analyses between social engagement and environmental attributes did not show any significant interactions, suggesting that promoting local social engagement may increase walking frequency among older adults, regardless of local environmental characteristics. Community-level social initiatives that encourage older adults to participate in local meetings, events, and activities may be an effective physical activity promotion strategy among older adults.

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Takemi Sugiyama, Dafna Merom, Marina Reeves, Eva Leslie and Neville Owen

Background:

Television viewing time is associated with obesity risk independent of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). However, it is unknown whether the relationship of TV viewing time with body mass index (BMI) is moderated by other domains of physical activity.

Methods:

A mail survey collected height; weight; TV viewing time; physical activity for transportation (habitual transport behavior; past week walking and bicycling), for recreation (LTPA), and in workplace; and sociodemographic variables in Adelaide, Australia. General linear models examined whether physical activity domains moderate the association between BMI and TV viewing time.

Results:

Analysis of the sample (N = 1408) found that TV time, habitual transport, and LTPA were independently associated with participant’s BMI. The interaction between TV time and habitual transport with BMI was significant, while that between TV time and LTPA was not. Subgroup analyses found that adjusted mean BMI was significantly higher for the high TV viewing category, compared with the low category, among participants who were inactive and occasionally active in transport, but not among those who were regularly active.

Conclusions:

Habitual active transport appeared to moderate the relationship between TV viewing time and BMI. Obesity risk associated with prolonged TV viewing may be mitigated by regular active transport.

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Mohammad Javad Koohsari, Takemi Sugiyama, Andrew T. Kaczynski and Neville Owen

Background:

Too much sitting, including time spent sitting in cars, is associated with poor health outcomes. Identifying the built-environment attributes that may reduce vehicular sitting time can inform future initiatives linking the public health, urban design, and transportation sectors.

Methods:

Data collected in 2003–2004 from adult residents (n = 2521) of Adelaide, Australia were used. Logistic regression analyses examined associations of prolonged time spent sitting in cars during leisure time (30 min/day or more) with neighborhood walkability and its components (dwelling density; intersection density; land use mix; net retail area ratio).

Results:

Lower overall walkability was significantly associated with a higher odds (OR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.21–1.70) of spending prolonged time in cars. For analyses with walkability components, lower net retail area ratio, lower residential density, and lower intersection density were significantly associated with prolonged sitting in cars.

Conclusion:

This study found that residents of high walkable neighborhoods tended to spend less time sitting in cars. In particular, higher net retail area ratio, an indicator of tightly spaced commercial areas, was strongly associated with less time in cars. Policy and planning initiatives to reduce car use require further evidence, particularly on the influence of neighborhood retail areas.

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Ester Cerin, Evie Leslie, Takemi Sugiyama and Neville Owen

Background:

Perceived barriers are modifiable correlates of participation in physical activity. Associations of specific perceived barriers with participation in and level of walking for recreation, and other leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) were examined. Personal, social, and environmental factors associated with these perceived barriers were then examined.

Methods:

From 2003 to 2004, 2 surveys collected data on recreational walking and other LTPA, perceived barriers to participation, and personal, social, and environmental attributes, from 2194 Australian adults. Zero-inflated negative binomial regression models examined associations of perceived barriers with walking and other LTPA. Generalized linear models identified the correlates of these perceived barriers.

Results:

The perceived barriers of lack of motivation and time were associated with level of LTPA, while lack of motivation, poor health, and lack of facilities were associated with the odds of non-participation in LTPA. Personal, social, and environmental factors independently contributed to variations in perceived barriers.

Conclusions:

Level and likelihood of participation in LTPA are associated with different perceived barriers. Perceived barriers are a function of both nonmodifiable personal factors and potentially modifiable personal, social, and environmental factors. These findings suggest that the provision of relevant environmental opportunities and social support may effectively reduce perceived barriers to LTPA.

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Hiroko Shimura, Takemi Sugiyama, Elisabeth Winkler and Neville Owen

Background:

Neighborhood walkability shows significant positive relationship with residents’ walking for transport in cross-sectional studies. We examined prospective relationships of neighborhood walkability with the change in walking behaviors over 4 years among middle-to-older aged adults (50–65 years) residing in Adelaide, Australia.

Methods:

A baseline survey was conducted during 2003–2004, and a follow-up survey during 2007–2008. Walking for transport and walking for recreation were assessed at both times among 504 adults aged 50–65 years living in objectively determined high- and low-walkable neighborhoods. Multilevel linear regression analyses examined the associations of neighborhood walkability with changes over 4 years in walking for transport and walking for recreation.

Results:

On average, participants decreased their time spent in walking for transport (–4.1 min/day) and for recreation (–3.7 min/day) between the baseline and 4-year follow-up. However, those living in high-walkable neighborhoods showed significantly smaller reduction (adjusted mean change: –1.1 min/day) in their time spent in walking for transport than did those living in low-walkable neighborhoods (–6.7 min/day). No such statistically-significant differences were found with the changes in walking for recreation.

Conclusions:

High-walkable neighborhoods may help middle-to-older aged adults to maintain their walking for transport.

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Rachel Cole, Mohammad Javad Koohsari, Alison Carver, Neville Owen and Takemi Sugiyama

Older adults are often considered more vulnerable to environmental factors than are younger adults. We examined whether the associations of objectively measured environmental attributes (Walk Score; street connectivity) with walking for transport differed between younger- (25–44 years), middle- (45–64 years), and older-aged (65–84 years) adults, using a large Australian sample of 14,656 people. Walk Score and street connectivity were similarly associated with walking (any; 30+ min/day) in all age groups. Contrary to commonly held views, the study did not find any evidence suggesting that older adults may be more sensitive to their environment to get out and walk than are younger adults, at least for the environmental attributes examined in this study. Further research is needed to investigate if there are particular environmental factors that hinder older adults from being active.

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Bronwyn K. Clark, Nyssa T. Hadgraft, Takemi Sugiyama and Elisabeth A. Winkler

The office is a key setting for intervening to reduce sitting, therefore office-specific activity measures are needed to evaluate interventions. We tested whether valid measures of office time and office-specific activities could be obtained using Bluetooth sensing with a variety of sampling intervals, receiver wear positions, and beacon placements. Workers from one building (n = 29, 72% female, age 23–68 years) wore, for one workday, the activPAL3 on the thigh (measured sitting, standing and stepping) and the Bluetooth-enabled ActiGraph Link on the wrist and thigh. Location (office/not) was estimated by Bluetooth signal presence/absence at two beacons in the wearer’s office (desk, wall), with chest-worn video cameras as the criterion. Accuracy in location classification was assessed and compared across 60-s, 30-s, and 10-s sampling intervals. The validity of Bluetooth-derived measures of total time in the office and in office-specific activities was assessed. For both the wrist and thigh-worn Link, with various beacon placements, accurate classification of location (office/not) was obtained, with a significant (p < .05) but trivial difference in accuracy across sampling interval options (F scores all ≈ .98). With the 60-s sampling interval, mean absolute percent error was very small for office time and office sitting time (<5%), but higher for infrequent activities: standing (17%–23%), incidental stepping (30%–49%), and purposeful walking (57%–86%). The ActiGraph Link can be used to validly measure office time and office location of activity with a 60-s Bluetooth setting. Higher resolution improves accuracy but not to a meaningful degree.

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Yung Liao, Takemi Sugiyama, Ai Shibata, Kaori Ishii, Shigeru Inoue, Mohammad Javad Koohsari, Neville Owen and Koichiro Oka

Background:

This study examined associations of perceived and objectively measured neighborhood environmental attributes with leisure-time sitting for transport among middle-to-older aged Japanese adults.

Method:

Data were collected using a postal survey of 998 adults aged 40 to 69 years. Generalized linear modeling with a gamma distribution and a log link was used to examine associations of perceived (International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Environmental module) and Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-derived built environment attributes with self-reported leisure-time sitting for transport.

Results:

Mean leisure-time sitting time for transport was 20.4 min/day. After adjusting for potential confounders, perceived higher residential density, GIS-measured higher population density, better access to destinations, better access to public transport, longer sidewalk length, and higher street connectivity, were associated significantly with lower sitting time for transport.

Conclusion:

Residents living in neighborhoods with attributes previously found to be associated with more walking tended to spend less time sitting for transport during leisure-time. The health benefits of walkability-related attributes may accrue not only through increased physical activity, but also through less sedentary time.

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Bronwyn Kay Clark, Takemi Sugiyama, Genevieve N. Healy, Jo Salmon, David W. Dunstan, Jonathan E. Shaw, Paul Z. Zimmet and Neville Owen

Background:

Sedentary behaviors, particularly television viewing (TV) time, are associated with adverse health outcomes in adults, independent of physical activity levels. These associations are stronger and more consistent for women than for men.

Methods:

Multivariate regression models examined the sociodemographic correlates of 2 categories of TV time (≥2 hours/day and ≥4 hours/day); in a large, population-based sample of Australian adults (4950 men, 6001 women; mean age 48.1 years, range 25–91) who participated in the 1999/2000 Australian Diabetes, Obesity, and Lifestyle (AusDiab) study.

Results:

Some 46% of men and 40% of women watched ≥ 2 hours TV/day; 9% and 6% respectively watched ≥ 4 hours/day. For both men and women, ≥2 hours TV/day was associated with less than tertiary education, living outside of state capital cities, and having no paid employment. For women, mid and older age (45−64 and 65+) were also significant correlates of ≥2 hours TV/day. Similar patterns of association were observed in those viewing ≥4 hours/day.

Conclusions:

Prolonged TV time is associated with indices of social disadvantage and older age. These findings can inform the understanding of potential contextual influences and guide preventive initiatives.

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Jacqueline Kerr, James F. Sallis, Neville Owen, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Ester Cerin, Takemi Sugiyama, Rodrigo Reis, Olga Sarmiento, Karel Frömel, Josef Mitáš, Jens Troelsen, Lars Breum Christiansen, Duncan Macfarlane, Deborah Salvo, Grant Schofield, Hannah Badland, Francisco Guillen-Grima, Ines Aguinaga-Ontoso, Rachel Davey, Adrian Bauman, Brian Saelens, Chris Riddoch, Barbara Ainsworth, Michael Pratt, Tom Schmidt, Lawrence Frank, Marc Adams, Terry Conway, Kelli Cain, Delfien Van Dyck and Nicole Bracy

Background:

National and international strategies to increase physical activity emphasize environmental and policy changes that can have widespread and long-lasting impact. Evidence from multiple countries using comparable methods is required to strengthen the evidence base for such initiatives. Because some environment and policy changes could have generalizable effects and others may depend on each country’s context, only international studies using comparable methods can identify the relevant differences.

Methods:

Currently 12 countries are participating in the International Physical Activity and the Environment Network (IPEN) study. The IPEN Adult study design involves recruiting adult participants from neighborhoods with wide variations in environmental walkability attributes and socioeconomic status (SES).

Results:

Eleven of twelve countries are providing accelerometer data and 11 are providing GIS data. Current projections indicate that 14,119 participants will provide survey data on built environments and physical activity and 7145 are likely to provide objective data on both the independent and dependent variables. Though studies are highly comparable, some adaptations are required based on the local context.

Conclusions:

This study was designed to inform evidence-based international and country-specific physical activity policies and interventions to help prevent obesity and other chronic diseases that are high in developed countries and growing rapidly in developing countries.