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Shannon N. Zenk, Amy J. Schulz, Angela M. Odoms-Young, JoEllen Wilbur, Stephen Matthews, Cindy Gamboa, Lani R. Wegrzyn, Susan Hobson and Carmen Stokes

Background:

Global positioning systems (GPS) have emerged as a research tool to better understand environmental influences on physical activity. This study examined the feasibility of using GPS in terms of perceived acceptability, barriers, and ease of use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of lower socioeconomic position (SEP).

Methods:

Data were from 2 pilot studies involving a total of 170 African American, Hispanic, and White urban adults with a mean (standard deviation) age of 47.8 (±13.1) years. Participants wore a GPS for up to 7 days. They answered questions about GPS acceptability, barriers (wear-related concerns), and ease of use before and after wearing the GPS.

Results:

We found high ratings of GPS acceptability and ease of use and low levels of wear-related concerns, which were maintained after data collection. While most were comfortable with their movements being tracked, older participants (P < .05) and African Americans (P < .05) reported lower comfort levels. Participants who were younger, with higher education, and low incomes were more likely to indicate that the GPS made the study more interesting (P < .05). Participants described technical and wear-related problems, but few concerns related to safety, loss, or appearance.

Conclusions:

Use of GPS was feasible in this racially/ethnically diverse, lower SEP sample.

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Peter Collins, Yahya Al-Nakeeb and Mark Lyons

Background:

Active school commuting is widely regarded as a key opportunity for youth to participate in physical activity (PA). However, the accurate measurement of the commute home from school and its contribution to total free-living moderateto- vigorous PA (MVPA) is relatively unexplored.

Methods:

Seventy-five adolescents (38 males, 37 females) wore an integrated GPS and heart rate device during after-school hours for 4 consecutive weekdays.

Results:

Active commuters were significantly more active (11.72 minutes MVPA) than passive commuters (3.5 minutes MVPA) during their commute home from school (P = .001). The commute home of walkers and cyclists on average contributed 35% of their total free-living PA. However, there was no significant difference in the overall free-living PA levels of passive and active commuters (P > .05). A total 92.7% of the youth living within 1.5 miles of the school actively commuted, compared with 16.7% of the youth who lived further away. Socioeconomic differences in commuting patterns were also evident.

Conclusions:

The findings highlighted the significant proportion of total free-living PA that was attributed to active commuting home from school. The study demonstrates the usefulness of utilizing GPS and heart rate data to accurately track young people’s after-school PA. Demographic influences and implications for future research are discussed.

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Dave H.H. Van Kann, Sanne I. de Vries, Jasper Schipperijn, Nanne K. de Vries, Maria W.J. Jansen and Stef P.J. Kremers

encouraging PA. The use of global positioning system (GPS) data in addition to accelerometer data has been advocated in health behavior studies in order to enrich data with location-specific information, 31 allowing researchers to more accurately specify the use of physical environments in relation to PA and

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Matthew Pearce, David H. Saunders, Peter Allison and Anthony P. Turner

. 17 By dividing adolescent leisure-time physical activity into context-based dimensions and combining data from global positioning system (GPS) receivers, diaries, and accelerometers, it may be possible to more accurately characterize the specific contexts where MVPA occurs. Consistent with an

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Helen J. Moore, Catherine A. Nixon, Amelia A. Lake, Wayne Douthwaite, Claire L. O’Malley, Claire L. Pedley, Carolyn D. Summerbell and Ashley C. Routen

Background:

Evidence suggests that many contemporary urban environments do not support healthy lifestyle choices and are implicated in the obesity pandemic. Middlesbrough, in the northeast of England is one such environment and a prime target for investigation.

Methods:

To measure physical activity (PA) levels in a sample of 28 adolescents (aged 11 to 14 years) and describe the environmental context of their activity and explore where they are most and least active over a 7-day period, accelerometry and Global Positioning System (GPS) technology were used. Twenty-five of these participants also took part in focus groups about their experiences and perceptions of PA engagement.

Results:

Findings indicated that all participants were relatively inactive throughout the observed period although bouts of moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were identified in 4 contexts: school, home, street, and rural/urban green spaces, with MVPA levels highest in the school setting. Providing access to local facilities and services (such as leisure centers) is not in itself sufficient to engage adolescents in MVPA.

Conclusion:

Factors influencing engagement in MVPA were identified within and across contexts, including ‘time’ as both a facilitator and barrier, perceptions of ‘gendered’ PA, and the social influences of peer groups and family members.

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Jamie E. L. Spinney, Hugh Millward and Darren Scott

Background:

Walking is the most common physical activity for adults with important implications for urban planning and public health. Recreational walking has received considerably more attention than walking for transport, and differences between them remain poorly understood.

Methods:

Using time-use data collected from 1971 randomly-chosen adults in Halifax, Canada, we identified walking for transport and walking for recreation events, and then computed participation rates, occurrences, mean event durations, and total daily durations in order to examine the participants and timing, while the locations were examined using origin-destination matrices. We compared differences using McNemar’s test for participation rates, Wilcoxon test for occurrences and durations, and Chi-Square test for locations.

Results:

Results illustrate many significant differences between the 2 types of walking, related to participants, timing, and locations. For example, results indicate a daily average of 3.1 walking for transport events, each lasting 8 minutes on average, compared with 1.4 recreational walking events lasting 39 minutes on average. Results also indicate more than two-thirds of recreational walks are home-based, compared with less than one-fifth of transport walks.

Conclusions:

This research highlights the importance of both types of walking, while also casting suspicion on the traditional home-based paradigm used to measure “walkability.”

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Philip J. Troped, Ellen K. Cromley, Maren S. Fragala, Steven J. Melly, Hope H. Hasbrouck, Steven L. Gortmaker and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

To determine how trail characteristics may influence use, reliable and valid audit tools are needed.

Methods:

The Path Environment Audit Tool (PEAT) was developed with design, amenity, and aesthetics/maintenance items. Two observers independently audited 185 trail segments at 6 Massachusetts facilities. GPS-derived items were used as a “gold standard.” Kappa (k) statistics, observed agreement and intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) were calculated to assess inter-observer reliability and validity.

Results:

Fifteen of 16 primary amenity items had k-values ≥ 0.49 (“moderate”) and all had observed agreement ≥ 81%. Seven binary design items had k-values ranging from 0.19 to 0.71 and three of 5 ordinal items had ICCs ≥ 0.52. Only two aesthetics/maintenance items (n = 7) had moderate ICCs. Observed agreement between PEAT and GPS items was ≥ 0.77; k-values were ≥ 0.57 for 7 out of 10 comparisons.

Conclusions:

PEAT has acceptable reliability for most of its primary items and appears ready for use by researchers and practitioners.

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Sarah Hardcastle and Adrian H. Taylor

There has been increasing interest in promoting health-enhancing exercise in primary-care services. One popular approach in the U.K. has been general practitioner (GP) exercise-referral plans in which mostly sedentary patients are referred by GPs to an exercise program at a local leisure center. It is not clear, however, how older women assimilate such a referral system into cognitive processes associated with physical activity involvement. This interpretivist study adopted unstructured interviewing and life-story technique to embrace subjectivity and contextuality in an attempt to capture the complex processes and to explore both common and diverse experience. The study explored referred older women's accounts of their past and current experiences of physical activity and their perceptions of what blocks or motivates them to be active. Fifteen newly referred older women (50–80 years old) were interviewed at various points during their prescribed 10-week exercise program. The findings highlight the importance of psychosocial dimensions and informal networks in the referral processes.

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Barbara B. Brown, Ken R. Smith, Doug Tharp, Carol M. Werner, Calvin P. Tribby, Harvey J. Miller and Wyatt Jensen

Background:

Complete streets require evaluation to determine if they encourage active transportation.

Methods:

Data were collected before and after a street intervention provided new light rail, bike lanes, and better sidewalks in Salt Lake City, Utah. Residents living near (<800 m) and far (≥801 to 2000 m) from the street were compared, with sensitivity tests for alternative definitions of near (<600 and <1000 m). Dependent variables were accelerometer/global positioning system (GPS) measures of transit trips, nontransit walking trips, and biking trips that included the complete street corridor.

Results:

Active travel trips for Near-Time 2 residents, the group hypothesized to be the most active, were compared with the other 3 groups (Near-Time 1, Far-Time 1, and Far-Time 2), net of control variables. Near-Time 2 residents were more likely to engage in complete street transit walking trips (35%, adjusted) and nontransit walking trips (50%) than the other 3 groups (24% to 25% and 13% to 36%, respectively). Bicycling was less prevalent, with only 1 of 3 contrasts significant (10% of Near-Time 2 residents had complete street bicycle trips compared with 5% of Far-Time 1 residents).

Conclusions:

Living near the complete street intervention supported more pedestrian use and possibly bicycling, suggesting complete streets are also public health interventions.

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Dac Minh Tuan Nguyen, Virgile Lecoultre, Andrew P. Hills and Yves Schutz

Background:

Increases in physical activity (PA) are promoted by walking in an outdoor environment. Along with walking speed, slope is a major determinant of exercise intensity, and energy expenditure. The hypothesis was that in free-living conditions, a hilly environment diminishes PA to a greater extent in obese (OB) when compared with control (CO) individuals.

Methods:

To assess PA types and patterns, 28 CO (22 ± 2 kg/m2) and 14 OB (33 ± 4 kg/m2) individuals wore during an entire day 2 accelerometers and 1 GPS device, around respectively their waist, ankle and shoulder. They performed their usual PA and were asked to walk an additional 60 min per day.

Results:

The duration of inactivity and activity with OB individuals tended to be, respectively, higher and lower than that of CO individuals (P = .06). Both groups spent less time walking uphill/downhill than on the level (20%, 19%, vs. 61% of total walking duration, respectively, P < .001). However OB individuals spent less time walking uphill/downhill per day than CO (25 ± 15 and 38 ± 15 min/d, respectively, P < 0.05) and covered a shorter distance per day (3.8 km vs 5.2 km, P < 0.01).

Conclusions:

BMI and outdoor topography should also be considered when prescribing extra walking in free-living conditions.