Awareness and use of community walking trails
ABSTRACT Community trail development is an emerging strategy to increase physical activity (PA) among community residents. The purpose of this study was to assess awareness and use of trails and compare perceptions to objective data.
A telephone survey was administered to a stratified sample of adults (N = 1,112) in a southeastern county in the United States. Respondents' home addresses and the locations of trails were entered into a GIS database. A kappa statistic was used to measure agreement between awareness and presence of trails. Differences in reported trail use patterns by sex, race, education, and PA levels were evaluated.
There was no agreement between the awareness and presence of trails (kappa = 0.07). Fifty-six percent of the respondents reported having trails; however, only 33% reported using the trails. Of the trail users, 42% reported being regularly active in moderate-to-vigorous PA (30+ min/day for 5+ days/week), and 51% reported being less active (P < 0.003). Among walkers (> or =30 min/day for > or =5 days/week), 49% of regular walkers and 35% of irregular walkers (< walkers) reported using the trails (P < 0.04).
Awareness of existing trails in this community and levels of use were low. Marketing programs should promote awareness and use of trails among older adults and irregularly active adults.
- SourceAvailable from: Klaus Gebel
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- "This was the case for a composite measure of walkability, and for the sub-domains of dwelling density, street connectivity, land use mix, and retail density (Gebel et al., 2009). It has been suggested that strategies to improve perceptions of the relevant environmental attributes particularly among those who live in objectively determined high walkable neighborhoods may have the potential to increase physical activity levels (Reed et al., 2004; Gebel et al., 2009) and improve other health outcomes (Parra et al., 2010). No study has examined whether mismatch between perceived and objectively determined walkability influences change in walking and weight. "
ABSTRACT: We examined prospectively whether persons who perceive their objectively measured high walkable environment as low walkable decrease their walking more and gain more weight than those with matched perceptions. Walkability was measured objectively using GIS. Corresponding perceptions were collected using the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale from 1027 urban Australian adults. Objective and perceived measures were dichotomized and categories of match and mismatch were created. Overall, walking levels decreased and BMI increased significantly over the four year follow-up period. Those who perceived high walkability, dwelling density or land use mix as low decreased their walking for transport significantly more than those with matched perceptions. Those who perceived high walkability, land use mix or retail density as low increased their BMI significantly more than those with concordant perceptions. These prospective findings corroborate recommendations from previous cross-sectional studies. Interventions to improve negative perceptions of walkability among those living in high walkable areas may be a relevant public health intervention to increase physical activity and support weight maintenance.Health & Place 12/2010; 17(2):519-24. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.12.008 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Recently a collaborative project between a university, a provincial statistical agency, and a non-profit service organization worked to identify built environment indicators for local action and planning around community health. The research involved developing appropriate built environment indicators for active recreation and transportation, and testing them for community usefulness and data availability in several communities in Nova Scotia, Canada. The indicators will be added to an online community database managed by the provincial government. By making province-wide indicator data easily and publicly available, governments have the potential to facilitate local initiatives to improve community health and well-being. This paper describes a process of identifying indicators that would let communities identify whether their built environment promotes active recreation and active transportation.