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Ana Queralt and Javier Molina-García

The built environment might influence population health by facilitating the physical activity (PA) for recreation and transportation. 1 Unlike the adult population, 1 the associations between objectively measured built-environment attributes and PA behavior in adolescents have so far been

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Jeanette Gustat, Christopher E. Anderson, Keelia O’Malley, Tian Hu, Rachel G. Tabak, Karin Valentine Goins, Cheryl Valko, Jill S. Litt and Amy A. Eyler

(diverse housing types, mixed land use, housing density, compact development patterns, and levels of open space). 11 Characteristics of built environments have been linked to chronic diseases and can have a long-term impact on those who interact with them. 17 – 20 Changing the environment to support PA

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Javier Molina-García and Ana Queralt

environmental factor related to active transportation behavior. Most studies correlate neighborhood characteristics to physical activity in adults or adolescents, 5 – 7 and the built environment attributes usually analyzed are residential density, road intersection density, and land-use mix as walkability

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Robert Fields, Andrew T. Kaczynski, Melissa Bopp and Elizabeth Fallon

Background:

Few studies of the built environment and physical activity or other health behaviors have examined minority populations specifically. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between the built environment and multiple health behaviors and outcomes among Hispanic adults.

Methods:

Community partners distributed surveys (n = 189) in 3 communities in southwest Kansas. Logistic regression was used to examine relationships between neighborhood perceptions and 4 outcomes.

Results:

Meeting physical activity recommendations was associated with the presence of sidewalks and a safe park, and inversely related to higher crime. Residential density and shops nearby were related to active commuting. Sedentary behavior was inversely related to having a bus stop, bike facilities, safe park, interesting things to look at, and seeing people active. Finally, seeing people active was positively associated with being overweight.

Conclusions:

This study suggests that among Hispanics, many built environment variables are related to health behaviors and should be targets for future neighborhood change efforts and research.

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Jennifer D. Roberts, Lindsey Rodkey, Rashawn Ray and Brian E. Saelens

factors, such as parental perceptions and built environment (BE) infrastructure and design, should be considered as well. 5 Parental perceptions are important to consider when assessing youth AT behavior. Multiple studies noted associations between parental perceived risk of danger and lower AT among

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Eboneé N. Butler, Anita M.H. Ambs, Jill Reedy and Heather R. Bowles

Background:

Examining relationships between features of the built environment and physical activity is achievable with geographic information systems technology (GIS). The purpose of this paper is to review the literature to identify GIS measures that can be considered for inclusion in national public health surveillance efforts. In the absence of a universally agreed upon framework that integrates physical, social, and cultural aspects of the environment, we used a multidimensional model of access to synthesize the literature.

Methods:

We identified 29 studies published between 2005 and 2009 with physical activity outcomes that included 1 or more built environment variables measured using GIS. We sorted built environment measures into 5 dimensions of access: accessibility, availability, accommodation, affordability, and acceptability.

Results:

Geospatial land-use data, street network data, environmental audits, and commercial databases can be used to measure the availability, accessibility, and accommodation dimensions of access. Affordability and acceptability measures rely on census and self-report data.

Conclusions:

GIS measures have been included in studies investigating the built environment and physical activity, although few have examined more than 1 construct of access. Systematic identification and collection of relevant GIS measures can facilitate collaboration and accelerate the advancement of research on the built environment and physical activity.

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Marui Weber Corseuil Giehl, Pedro Curi Hallal, Claudia Weber Corseuil, Ione J. Ceola Schneider and Eleonora d’Orsi

Background:

Understanding the built environment influence on specific domains of walking is important for public health interventions to increase physical activity levels among older adults.

Purpose:

The purpose was to investigate the association between built environment characteristics and walking among older adults.

Methods:

A population-based study was performed in 80 census tracts in Florianópolis, Brazil, including 1,705 older adults (60+ years old). Walking was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Built environment characteristics were assessed through a geographic information system. All analyses were conducted through a multilevel logistic regression.

Results:

Individuals living in neighborhoods with a higher population density (odds ratio [OR]: 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40–3.42), with a higher street connectivity (OR: 1.85; 95% CI, 1.16–2.94), a higher sidewalk proportion (OR: 1.77; 95% CI, 1.11–2.83), and paved streets (medium tertile: OR: 1.61, 95% CI, 1.04–2.49; highest tertile: OR: 2.11; 95% CI, 1.36–3.27) were more likely to walk for transportation. Regarding walking for leisure, only 2 predictors were associated, area income (OR: 1.48; 95% CI, 1.04–2.12) and street density (OR: 1.47; 95% CI, 1.02–2.10).

Conclusions:

Improving the neighborhood built environment is an important step for achieving higher levels of walking in the elderly population in a middle-income country.

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Lawrence Frank and Sarah Kavage

Background:

Evidence shows significant relationships between aspects of the built environment and physical activity. Land use and transportation investments are needed to create environments that support and promote physical activity.

Methods:

The policy relevance of recent evidence on the built environment and physical activity is discussed, along with an assessment of near, medium, and longer term pricing and regulatory actions that could be considered to promote physical activity. These actions are evaluated based on their consistency with the current evidence on what would support and promote physical activity.

Results:

A wide range of pricing and regulatory strategies are presented that would promote physical activity. There is an unmet demand for activity friendly, walkable environments. Creating more walkable places is an essential component of a national plan to increase physical activity levels of Americans.

Conclusions:

The built environment is an enabler or disabler of physical activity. Creating more walkable environments is an essential step in averting what is currently a market failure where the supply and demand for walkable environments is misaligned. The desire to be more physically active would be supported through investments in walking, biking, and transit. Concentration of development within existing urban areas supported by transit and implementing pricing strategies can support physical activity.

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David Ogilvie, Billie Giles-Corti, Paula Hooper, Lin Yang and Fiona Bull

Modifying the built environment is increasingly recommended as a means of increasing physical activity, but there is currently little evidence from intervention studies to support this approach. From a discussion of 3 natural experiments in this area (RESIDE, iConnect, and Commuting and Health in Cambridge), several common lessons emerged. First, researchers should anticipate delays in the implementation of interventions that are outside their control, and research funders need to exercise a degree of flexibility to accommodate changing research timetables. Second, new built environments develop and evolve over time, and so do their effects on human behavior. Study designs and exposure measures should take account of this, and long term outcomes should be measured wherever possible to allow for potential sleeper, snowball, or threshold effects emerging over time. Third, it may be difficult to identify suitable control areas for a conventional parallel-group intervention–control design, and it may be necessary to draw on other study designs to provide a counterfactual comparison. Fourth, the effort and cost required to recruit, retain and obtain repeated measurements from participants over a period of years should not be underestimated. Finally, comprehensive process evaluation measures may be required to assess the level and quality of interventions.

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Wendell C. Taylor, James F. Sallis, Emily Lees, Joseph T. Hepworth, Karina Feliz, Devin C. Volding, Andrea Cassels and Jonathan N. Tobin

Background:

Middle age and older (mean = 58.7 y), racial/ethnic minority women report low levels of physical activity. Recommendations to change the social and built environments to promote physical activity in this group are underdeveloped. Two research questions guided this study: What environmental changes are recommended by racial/ethnic minority women? What policies are related to the environmental changes?

Methods:

The findings from nine Nominal Group Technique sessions with 45 subjects were analyzed.

Results:

More police protection, cleaner streets, removal of drugs from streets, more street lights, walking groups, and free gyms were prioritized by subjects as the most important recommendations. The relevant policies included municipal, police department, sanitation department, public works, and transportation department.

Conclusions:

Racial/ethnic minority women living in low income, urban areas recommend improvements that affect overall quality of life. Meeting basic needs may be a prerequisite for use of physical activity resources.