Exploring associations between physical activity and perceived and objective measures of the built environment

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

211 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The built environment may be responsible for making nonmotorized transportation inconvenient, resulting in declines in physical activity. However, few studies have assessed both the perceived and objectively measured environment in association with physical activity outcomes. The purpose of this study was to describe the associations between perceptions and objective measures of the built environment and their associations with leisure, walking, and transportation activity. Perception of the environment was assessed from responses to 1,270 telephone surveys conducted in Forsyth County, NC and Jackson, MS from January to July 2003. Participants were asked if high-speed cars, heavy traffic, and lack of crosswalks or sidewalks were problems in their neighborhood or barriers to physical activity. They were also asked if there are places to walk to instead of driving in their neighborhood. Speed, volume, and street connectivity were assessed using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for both study areas. Locations of crashes were measured using GIS for the NC study area as well. Objective and perceived measures of the built environment were in poor agreement as calculated by kappa coefficients. Few associations were found between any of the physical activity outcomes and perception of speed, volume, or presence of sidewalks as problems in the neighborhood or as barriers to physical activity in regression analyses. Associations between perceptions of having places to walk to and presence of crosswalks differed between study sites. Several associations were found between objective measures of traffic volume, traffic speed, and crashes with leisure, walking, and transportation activity in Forsyth County, NC; however, in Jackson, MS, only traffic volume was associated with any of the physical activity outcomes. When both objective and perceived measures of the built environment were combined into the same model, we observed independent associations with physical activity; thus, we feel that evaluating both objective and perceived measures of the built environment may be necessary when examining the relationship between the built environment and physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-184
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2007

Fingerprint

Geographic Information Systems
Leisure Activities
Walking
Telephone
Regression Analysis
traffic volume
information system
traffic
telephone
regression
lack
Surveys and Questionnaires

Keywords

  • Built environment
  • Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
  • Objective measures
  • Perceptions
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Exploring associations between physical activity and perceived and objective measures of the built environment. / McGinn, Aileen P.; Evenson, Kelly R.; Herring, Amy H.; Huston, Sara L.; Rodriguez, Daniel A.

In: Journal of Urban Health, Vol. 84, No. 2, 03.2007, p. 162-184.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

McGinn, Aileen P. ; Evenson, Kelly R. ; Herring, Amy H. ; Huston, Sara L. ; Rodriguez, Daniel A. / Exploring associations between physical activity and perceived and objective measures of the built environment. In: Journal of Urban Health. 2007 ; Vol. 84, No. 2. pp. 162-184.
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