To evaluate the association between perceived environmental factors and leisure-time and transport-related physical activity.
A random-digit-dialing telephone cross-sectional survey in Recife, Brazil, was conducted among individuals aged 16 years or older (n = 2046). Leisure-time and transport-related physical activity were measured using the long version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Three outcome variables were used: leisure-time physical activity (min/wk), transport-related physical activity (min/wk), and walking for leisure (min/wk). A cutoff of 150 min/wk was used for all outcome variables. The environmental module of the questionnaire was based on the short version of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (A-NEWS), and included 12 environmental items.
The proportions of subjects reaching the 150-minutes per week threshold were 30.6% for leisure-time physical activity, 26.6% for transport-related physical activity and 18.2% for walking for leisure. Lack of sidewalks and low access to recreational facilities were associated with a lower likelihood of performing 150 minutes per week or more of leisure-time physical activity. Lack of sidewalks was associated with low levels of walking for leisure. Neighborhood aesthetics was inversely associated with transport-related physical activity.
Lack of sidewalks and low access to recreational facilities were predictors of low levels of leisure-time physical activity, suggesting that policy strategies aimed at improving these environmental features may be warranted.