The built environment, neighborhood crime and constrained physical activity: an exploration of inconsistent findings.
ABSTRACT Personal safety is commonly cited in qualitative research as a barrier to local walking, yet the relationship between safety and constrained physical activity has received mixed support in quantitative studies. This paper reviews the quantitative evidence to date, seeking to explain the inconsistencies, and offers recommendations for future research.
A social-ecological framework was adopted to explore the evidence linking crime-related safety, and factors that influence real and perceived safety, with constrained physical activity.
Perceived safety tends to affect the physical activity of groups already known to exhibit greater anxiety about crime; and some elements of the built environment that influence safety appear to constrain physical activity. However the evidence is somewhat inconsistent, and this may be partly attributed to measurement limitations. Many studies employ generic safety measures that make implicit references to crime or use composite variables that lack specificity. Physical activity outcomes also require consideration, as only activities occurring locally outdoors are likely to be affected by neighborhood crime.
Further research is required to tease out associations between real and perceived crime-related safety and physical activity, ideally employing behaviour and crime-specific measures, and addressing the moderating role of the social and built environments.
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ABSTRACT: A growing body of evidence shows that community environment plays an important role in individuals' physical activity engagement. However, while attributes of the physical environment are widely investigated, sociocultural, political, and economic aspects of the environment are often neglected. This article helps to fill these knowledge gaps by providing a more comprehensive understanding of multiple dimensions of the community environment relative to physical activity. The purpose of this study was to qualitatively explore how people's experiences and perceptions of their community environments affect their abilities to engage in physical activity. A PhotoVoice method was used to identify barriers to and opportunities for physical activity among residents in four communities in the province of Alberta, Canada, in 2009. After taking pictures, the thirty-five participants shared their perceptions of those opportunities and barriers in their community environments during individual interviews. Using the Analysis Grid for Environments Linked to Obesity (ANGELO) framework, themes emerging from these photo-elicited interviews were organized in four environment types: physical, sociocultural, economic, and political. The data show that themes linked to the physical (56.6%) and sociocultural (31.4%) environments were discussed more frequently than the themes of the economic (5.9%) and political (6.1%) environments. Participants identified nuanced barriers and opportunities for physical activity, which are illustrated by their quotes and photographs. The findings suggest that a myriad of factors from physical, sociocultural, economic, and political environments influence people's abilities to be physically active in their communities. Therefore, adoption of a broad, ecological perspective is needed to address the barriers and build upon the opportunities described by participants to make communities more healthy and active.Social science & medicine (1982). 06/2014; 116C:10-21.
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ABSTRACT: While physical activity (PA) provides many physical, social, and mental health benefits for older adults, they are the least physically active age group. Ecological models highlight the importance of the physical environment in promoting PA. However, results of previous quantitative research revealed inconsistencies in environmental correlates of older adults' PA that may be explained by methodological issues. Qualitative studies can inform and complement quantitative research on environment-PA relationships by providing insight into how and why the environment influences participants' PA behaviors. The current study aimed to provide a systematic review of qualitative studies exploring the potential impact of the physical environment on older adults' PA behaviors.International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 07/2014; 11(1):79. · 3.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Self-reported and objectively-determined neighborhood built characteristics are associated with physical activity, yet little is known about their combined influence on walking. This study: 1) compared self-reported measures of the neighborhood built environment between objectively-determined low, medium, and high walkable neighborhoods; 2) estimated the relative associations between self-reported and objectively-determined neighborhood characteristics and walking and; 3) examined the extent to which the objectively-determined built environment moderates the association between self-reported measures of the neighborhood built environment and walking.International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 06/2014; 11(1):71. · 3.58 Impact Factor