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Kazuhiro Harada, Koichiro Oka, Ai Shibata, Kaori Ishii, Yoshio Nakamura, Shigeru Inoue and Teruichi Shimomitsu

The authors examined the relationship between strength-training behavior and perceived environment in older Japanese adults. An Internet-based survey was conducted of 293 adults age 68.2 ± 2.8 yr. The dependent variable was regular strength-training behavior. The IPAQ environment module, access to facilities for strength training, and home equipment for strength training were environmental factors. Logistic-regression analysis was employed. After demographic variables (gender, age, educational background, household income, body-mass index, self-rated health status, smoking habit, and residential area) were adjusted for, home equipment for strength training (OR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.50–3.06), access to facilities for strength training (OR = 2.53, 95% CI = 1.32–4.85), and observing active people (OR = 2.20, 95% CI = 1.06–4.58) were positively correlated with regular strength-training behavior. In conclusion, environmental factors associated with strength-training behavior were access to facilities for strength training, having home equipment for strength training, and observing active people.

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Lucelia Luna de Melo, Verena Menec, Michelle M. Porter and A. Elizabeth Ready

This study examined the associations between walking behavior and the perceived environment and personal factors among older adults. Sixty participants age 65 yr or older (mean 77 ± 7.27, range 65–92) wore pedometers for 3 consecutive days. Perceived environment was assessed using the Neighborhood Environment Walk-ability Scale (abbreviated version). Physical function was measured using the timed chair-stands test. The mean number of steps per day was 5,289 steps (SD = 4,029). Regression analyses showed a significant association between personal factors, including physical function (relative rate = 1.05, p < .01) and income (RR = 1.43, p < .05) and the average daily number of steps taken. In terms of perceived environment, only access to services was significantly related to walking at the univariate level, an association that remained marginally significant when controlling for personal characteristics. These results suggest that among this sample of older adults, walking behavior was more related to personal and intrinsic physical capabilities than to the perceived environment.

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Alex Antonio Florindo, Emanuel Péricles Salvador and Rodrigo Siqueira Reis

Background:

The environment has a great influence on people’s lifestyles and their capacity to choose healthy habits. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between perceived environment and physical activity among adults living in the city of São Paulo, Brazil.

Methods:

This was a cross-sectional population-based study conducted with 890 people age 18 years or over. Physical activity was measured through the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ; long version) and perceived environment was evaluated using the Neighborhood Walkability Scale (NEWS) adapted. Poisson’s regression was used for statistical analyses and prevalence ratios were calculated. The outcome variable was the attainment of at least 150 minutes per week of physical activities. The independent variables consisted of perceived environment variables and control variables (sex, age, schooling, time living in the home, and number of cars per household).

Results:

The perceived environment variables that explained physical activity were: receiving invitations from friends for activities (P = .012), low environmental pollution scores (p trend = 0.030) and high general safety scores (P-trend = 0.039).

Conclusions:

These results suggest that physical activity promotion in regions like this should be envisaged as a complex phenomenon and investments in public safety, prevention and combating of environmental pollution and social support networks are needed.

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Verity Cleland, Marita Sodergren, Petr Otahal, Anna Timperio, Kylie Ball, David Crawford, Jo Salmon and Sarah A. McNaughton

This study aimed to determine whether associations between the perceived environment and physical activity are moderated by urban-rural status among midolder aged adults. Environmental (safety, aesthetics, physical activity environment) and physical activity (total, leisure, transport) data from 3,888 adults (55 to 65 years) from urban and rural areas of Victoria, Australia, were analyzed. Multinomial logistic regression examined interactions between urban-rural status and environments in associations with physical activity. Significant (P < .05) interactions were evident and indicated positive associations only among older rural adults for both safety and aesthetics with total and transport physical activity (e.g., rural adults reporting higher safety were 91% to 118% more likely to have higher activity than rural adults reporting low safety). In contrast, the physical activity environment was positively associated with leisure activity among only urban adults. Findings suggest that some tailoring of physical activity promotion strategies targeting the environment may be required for urban and rural midolder aged adults.

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Rodrigo Siqueira Reis, Adriano Akira Ferreira Hino, Alex Antonio Florindo, Ciro Romélio Rodriguez Añez and Marlos Rodrigues Domingues

Background:

The purpose of this study was to analyze the relationship between adolescents’ physical activity practice and their perception about the environment of urban parks.

Methods:

A school-based representative sample (n = 1,718; boys = 40.4%) of teenagers of Curitiba, Southern region of Brazil. A questionnaire was employed to identify perceived parks environmental features as well as physical activity practice in the parks (PAP), habitual physical activity (HPA) and demographics. The relationship between PAP and parks environments was analyzed through multivariate logistic regression controlling for age and socioeconomic status, HPA and parks distance.

Results:

After controlling for confounders PAP was associated with lack of space to be physically active, activities to choose from and equipments for both boys and girls, (odds ratio (OR)—ranging from 1.5 to 1.8). Among boys, having people of same age (OR = 1.5) and accessibility (OR = 2.0) showed association with PAP only in crude analysis. However, among girls, to be bulled or teased (OR = 1.4) and accessibility (OR = 1.7) were associated with PAP after confounding control.

Conclusions:

The results showed that specific attributes in parks may be considered and offered to increase the likelihood of physical activity practice among adolescents in such locations.

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Marc A. Adams, Sherry Ryan, Jacqueline Kerr, James F. Sallis, Kevin Patrick, Lawrence D. Frank and Gregory J. Norman

Background:

Concurrent validity of Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) items was evaluated with objective measures of the built environment using geographic information systems (GIS).

Methods:

A sample of 878 parents of children 10 to 16 years old (mean age 43.5 years, SD = 6.8, 34.8% non-White, 63.8% overweight) completed NEWS and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. GIS was used to develop 1-mile street network buffers around participants’ residences. GIS measures of the built environment within participants’ buffers included percent of commercial and institutional land uses; number of schools and colleges, recreational facilities, parks, transit stops, and trees; land topography; and traffic congestion.

Results:

Except for trees and traffic, concordance between the NEWS and GIS measures were significant, with weak to moderate effect sizes (r = −0.09 to −0.36, all P ≤ 01). After participants were stratified by physical activity level, stronger concordance was observed among active participants for some measures. A sensitivity analysis of self-reported distance to 15 neighborhood destinations found a 20-minute (compared with 10- or 30-minute) walking threshold generally had the strongest correlations with GIS measures.

Conclusions:

These findings provide evidence of the concurrent validity of self-reported built environment items with objective measures. Physically active adults may be more knowledgeable about their neighborhood characteristics.

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Erica Thomas and Dominic Upton

Background:

Physical activity determinant studies now often include both environmental and sociocognitive factors but few of them acknowledge and explore the mechanisms underlying relevant environmental influences. This study explored environmental correlates of children’s self-reported physical activity and potential mediation through the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) and habit strength.

Methods:

Six hundred and twenty-one pupils aged 9–11 years were recruited from 4 primary schools in the UK. TPB variables, habit strength and environmental variables were assessed at baseline. Self-reported physical activity was assessed 1 week later.

Results:

Mediation tests revealed that 43% of the association between convenient facilities and intention was mediated through subjective norms (17%) and habit (26%), while 15% of the association between convenient facilities and physical activity was mediated through habit strength alone. A significant direct effect of convenient facilities and resources in the home environment on physical activity was also found. The school environment was not significantly related to children’s physical activity intentions or behavior.

Conclusion:

The results suggest that the environment influences children’s physical activity both directly and indirectly and that habit strength seems to be the most important mediator for this association.

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Lilian G. Perez, Terry L. Conway, Adrian Bauman, Jacqueline Kerr, John P. Elder, Elva M. Arredondo and James F. Sallis

environment survey. For the present research, only the 9 countries with comparable measures for PA, perceived environment, and sociodemographics (age, gender, and education) were included in the analyses: Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong (special administrative unit of China), Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway

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Deborah Salvo, Rodrigo S. Reis, Adriano A.F. Hino, Pedro C. Hallal and Michael Pratt

Background:

There is little understanding about which sets of environmental features could simultaneously predict intensity-specific leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) among Brazilians. The objectives were to identify the environmental correlates for intensity-specific LTPA, and to build the best-fit linear models to predict intensity-specific LTPA among adults of Curitiba, Brazil.

Methods:

Cross sectional study in Curitiba, Brazil (2009, n = 1461). The International Physical Activity Questionnaire and Abbreviated Neighborhood Environment Assessment Scale were used. Ninety-two perceived environment variables were categorized in 10 domains. LTPA was classified as walking for leisure (LWLK), moderate-intensity leisure-time PA (MLPA), vigorous-intensity leisure-time PA (VLPA), and moderate-to-vigorous intensity leisure-time PA (MVLPA). Best fitting linear predictive models were built.

Results:

Forty environmental variables were correlated to at least 1 LTPA outcome. The variability explained by the 4 best-fit models ranged from 17% (MLPA) to 46% (MVLPA). All models contained recreation areas and aesthetics variables; none included residential density predictors. At least 1 neighborhood satisfaction variable was present in each of the intensity-specific models, but not for overall MVLPA.

Conclusions:

This study demonstrates the simultaneous effect of sets of perceived environmental features on intensity-specific LTPA among Brazilian adults. The differences found compared with high-income countries suggest caution in generalizing results across settings.

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Ronald C. Plotnikoff, Klaus Gebel and David Revalds Lubans

Background:

According to social-cognitive theory (SCT), self-efficacy affects health behavior both directly and indirectly by influencing how individuals perceive their environment. This study examines whether perceptions of home and school environment mediate the association between self-efficacy and physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior in adolescent girls.

Methods:

Baseline data from the Nutrition and Enjoyable Activity for Teen Girls (NEAT) was used for this study. Grade 8 female students (n = 357) were recruited from 12 secondary schools located in low-income communities in the Hunter Region, New South Wales, Australia. PA was assessed using accelerometers, and sedentary behavior by self-report and accelerometers. Self-reported measures were used for perceived home and school environment and self-efficacy. Multilevel regression models were calculated to determine if the perceived environment mediated the relationship between self-efficacy with both PA and sedentary behavior.

Results:

The perceptions of the school and home environment did not mediate the relationship between PA self-efficacy and PA behavior or sedentary behavior.

Conclusion:

The mediated models were not supported for PA or sedentary behavior. However, other results of this paper may be helpful for future theory development and practice. More research is needed to understand behaviors in unique populations such as this.