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Patricia A. Collins and Daphne Mayer

Background:

Individuals that engage in active transportation (AT) have healthier weights and fitness levels. Most AT research has focused on work- or school-based destinations. Meanwhile, little is known about the differences between individuals that engage in the most common forms of AT—walking and cycling—and how these AT patterns vary by destination, duration, and season.

Methods:

We recruited 1400 randomly sampled adults (350 per season) in Kingston, Ontario, Canada to complete a cross-sectional telephone survey. The survey captured the prevalence, destinations, and duration of AT, and we examined the observed differences by mode.

Results:

The majority (72%) of respondents were AT-users; walking constituted 93% of overall mode share. Cyclists were more likely to be male, younger, and employed than walkers. Walkers tended to access neighborhood-based destinations, while cyclists were more likely to use AT to get to work. AT duration was comparable by mode, ranging from approximately 8 to 20 minutes. Overall rates of AT were lowest in the winter, but walking rates were reasonably high year-round.

Conclusions:

Beyond commuting to work and school, policy-makers and planners should consider the breadth of destinations accessed by different modes when aiming to increase physical activity through AT in their communities.

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Janet Currie and Imke Fischer

Five hundred mothers of children under five years participated in a survey to gain perceptions of a community pram walking program designed to promote mental health. Telephone survey (n=450) and focus group (n=50) methods were used. Ninety-two percent of telephone survey respondents (n=416) believed that physical activity could increase mental well-being and 87% (n=390) felt that it could reduce the effects of postnatal depression [PND]. Interestingly, approximately 50% (n=25) of focus group participants felt that mothers experiencing PND would not want to join an exercise group set up for promoting mental well-being and 80% (n=40) stated that marketing messages should not mention mental health in order to avoid labelling or stigmatization. This study has revealed positive attitudes toward the potential of physical activity to improve mental health. However, for promotional purposes, terms such as well-being or reduced stress may be less stigmatizing than mental health.

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Hannah M. Badland, Grant M. Schofield and Philip J. Schluter

Background:

Little is known about the relationships between objectively measured commute distance with actual and perceived transport-related physical activity (TPA) engagement.

Methods:

A telephone survey assessed travel behaviors to place of work/study within an adult sample (n = 772) residing in New Zealand.

Results:

Overall, 50% of respondents perceived they could, and 10% of the sample actually did, use TPA modes to commute to their occupation for distances less than 5 km. Differences between TPA perceptions and engagement existed for all distance classifications, and prevalence declined as distances increased.

Conclusions:

Differences between TPA engagement and perceptions were evident. Actual and perceived TPA engagement levels declined as commute distance increased.

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Marie Hardin, Bu Zhong and Erin Whiteside

U.S. sports operations have been described as newsroom “toy departments,” at least partly because of their deviation from journalistic norms. Recently, however, more attention has focused on issues of ethics and professionalism; the failure of sports journalists to adequately cover steroid use in Major League Baseball has also directed critical attention to their roles and motives. This study, through a telephone survey of journalists in U.S. newsrooms, examines sports reporters’ practices, beliefs, and attitudes in regard to ethics and professionalism and how their ethics and practice relate. Results indicate that reporters’ attitudes toward issues such as voting in polls, taking free tickets, gambling, and becoming friends with sources are related to their views of public-service or investigative journalism. In addition, friendships with sources are linked to values stereotypically associated with sports as a toy-department occupation. These results suggest that adherence to ethical standards is linked to an outlook that embraces sports coverage as public service.

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Allen Cheadle

Background:

Effective promotion of physical activity among older adults, and the evaluation of those efforts, requires a better understanding of the impact of seasonal patterns on physical activity.

Methods:

This article used data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey, a population-based telephone survey, to examine the association between levels of physical activity among older adults and season of the year, temperature, and rainfall.

Results:

A statistically significant seasonal pattern was identified for general physical activity; for example, recommended physical activity was 62% higher in relative terms in June than in December (63% active versus 39%). However, no significant association was found between season and walking, and rainfall and temperature did not appear to influence the level of activity over and above the effect of season.

Conclusions:

Evaluations of walking programs for seniors may not need to make adjustments for seasonality when measuring impact using pre/post surveys.

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Simani M. Price, Judith McDivitt, Deanne Weber, Lisa S. Wolff, Holly A. Massett and Janet E. Fulton

Background:

Despite the potential benefits of reducing the risk of osteoporosis in later life, research on adolescent girls’ weight-bearing physical activity (WBPA) is limited. This study explores correlates for WBPA in this population.

Methods:

A nationally representative telephone survey sponsored by the National Bone Health Campaign was conducted with 1000 girls age 9 to 12 years and a parent. Girls’ physical activities were coded as weight bearing or not and correlated with cognitive, social, and environmental variables.

Results:

Regression analysis revealed that WBPA was significantly associated with self-reported parents’ education, parental self-efficacy, girls’ normative beliefs about time spent in physical activity, being physically active with a parent, having physically active friends, and perceived availability of after-school physical activities.

Conclusions:

Interventions encouraging parents to participate in WBPA with their daughters and increasing parents’ positive attitudes and self-efficacy in getting their daughters to be physically active should be tested.

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Kristiann C. Heesch and Jennifer L. Han

Background:

Policies that encourage physical activity are recommended to increase physical activity rates. Few studies have examined public support for such policies. The aim of this study was to assess support for policies that may increase active transport and correlates of this support.

Methods:

A telephone survey was administered to 460 Oklahoma residents.

Results:

Most respondents supported policies that may encourage walking and bicycling for transport. Most favored the improvement of public transportation over building new roads to address transportation concerns. In multivariate models, a positive attitude toward walking was the only variable significantly associated with support for most policy outcomes (p < 0.05). Participation in active commuting and a positive attitude toward bicycling were correlates of strong support for the creation of bike ways (p < 0.05).

Conclusions:

Experience with active commuting and positive attitudes toward walking and bicycling are associated with support for policies that may encourage walking and bicycling for transport.

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Nanette Stroebele, Holly R. Wyatt, George W. Reed, John C. Peters and James O. Hill

Background:

Results from a statewide telephone survey of walking showed that the average adult in Colorado takes 6804 steps/d, and that steps/d were negatively associated with body mass index. No similar data exist for children.

Methods:

As part of the Colorado survey, demographic information was obtained from parents for 116 children. A subsample of 59 children and adolescents (age 10 to 17 y) agreed to wear a step counter for four consecutive days.

Results:

The youth reported taking an average of 7902 steps/d. There was a trend for children’s steps/d to be positively associated with parents’ steps/d and negatively associated with TV watching.

Conclusion:

This sample of children is not large enough to be considered a representative sample of Colorado youth, but this cross-sectional study provides some much needed information about steps/d in children and generates some interesting hypotheses about steps/d and other measures of health and overweight.

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Tegan K. Boehmer, Christine M. Hoehner, Kathleen W. Wyrwich, Laura K. Brennan Ramirez and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

Neighborhood environmental supports for physical activity are assessed via telephone surveys (perceived) and environmental audits (observed), but the correspondence between methods is not known.

Methods.

Surveys (N = 1068) and audits were conducted concurrently in four diverse urban settings to measure recreational facilities, land use, transportation environment, and aesthetics. Agreement was assessed with kappa (κ) statistics.

Results.

Kappa values ranged from –0.06 to 0.47 for the 28 item-pairs: 17 item-pairs were classified as poor agreement (κ ≤ 0.20), 10 as fair (κ = 0.21-0.40), and 1 as good (κ = 0.47). The highest agreement was observed for proximity to parks, trails, and various land-use destinations, presence of sidewalks, and measures of neighborhood maintenance and cleanliness.

Conclusions.

Methodological issues and/or the likelihood of capturing distinct aspects of the environment may explain the generally low correspondence between survey and audit measures. Our findings should help researchers make informed decisions regarding measurement of environmental supports for physical activity.

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Aileen P. McGinn, Kelly R. Evenson, Amy H. Herring, Sara L. Huston and Daniel A. Rodriguez

Background:

Crime is one aspect of the environment that can act as a barrier to physical activity. The goals of this study were to (1) compare measures of perceived crime with observed crime and (2) examine the association between the independent and combined effects of objective and perceived crime on physical activity.

Methods:

Perceived crime and physical activity were assessed in 1659 persons via telephone survey. Crime was objectively measured in a subset of 303 survey participants.

Results:

For all types of crime, there was low agreement between objective and perceived measures. Both perceived and objectively measured crime were independently associated with leisure activities.

Conclusions:

This study suggests that perceptions and objective measures of crime are both important correlates of leisure physical activity. Evaluating both measures is necessary when examining the relationship between crime and physical activity to develop interventions that will most influence leisure physical activity levels.