The built environment, neighborhood crime and constrained physical activity: An exploration of inconsistent findings

ArticleinPreventive Medicine 47(3):241-51 · May 2008with48 Reads
DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.03.017 · Source: PubMed
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.
    • "In the context of high rates of physical inactivity during leisure time (WHO 2011), many authors suggest that not only personal choices are responsible for the low rates of PA, but also that environmental and policy contexts can play an important role in the adoption of healthy behaviors, including regular and sustainable PA participation (Abraham et al. 2010; Ball et al. 2006; Sallis et al. 2008). Accordingly, many scholars have tried to assess the influence of the built environment on levels of PA (Foster and Giles-Corti 2008; Humpel et al. 2002; Sallis and Glanz 2006), with results indicating that the built environment is indeed an important predictor for PA engagement (GordonLarsen et al. 2006; Rodríguez et al. 2012; Troped et al. 2010). A particular focus of research in this field has been the characteristics of the neighborhood of residence and their impact on PA behavior of the local population (Adamus et al. 2012; Gidlow and Ellis 2011). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objective To assess the quality of public physical activity resources (PARs) in a low socio-economic community in the Olympic city of Rio de Janeiro. Methods The Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) instrument was used to assess all 29 public PARs located in this community. A Quality Indicator (QI) was developed based on PARA results. Results The average QI of the areas assessed was 1.3 ± 6.40 and the median 1 point, a considerably low score if compared to scores of public PARs across the city (13.6 ± 4.91 and 13 points). Conclusion The urban regeneration necessary for hosting mega sport events is frequently promoted as an opportunity to enhance PARs and therefore to improve health through physical activity (PA) participation. Findings indicate that the high number of elements that can discourage the use of these spaces may help explain the low level of PA during leisure time that has been previously reported of residents of the same neighbourhood. Whether using the Olympic Games as catalyst or not, policies designed to encourage PA should focus also on the built environment.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2016
    • "First, this study focused on walking within the local neighbourhood, a behaviour that typically occurs in public space and is therefore more likely to be impacted by feelings of safety than other physical activities conducted in private space. Further, both the crime-safety and walking measures were specific to the same geographic location (i.e., the 10–15 min walk from home), meaning there was a good spatial match between the predictor and outcome (i.e., perceptions of safety in the local neighbourhood are less likely to impact on physical activity undertaken else- where) [1, 44]. Thus, measurement issues did not obscure any potential relationship between crime-related safety and walking. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Numerous cross-sectional studies have investigated the premise that the perception of crime will cause residents to constrain their walking; however the findings to date are inconclusive. In contrast, few longitudinal or prospective studies have examined the impact of crime-related safety on residents walking behaviours. This study used longitudinal data to test whether there is a causal relationship between crime-related safety and walking in the local neighbourhood. Participants in the RESIDential Environments Project (RESIDE) in Perth, Australia, completed a questionnaire before moving to their new neighbourhood (n = 1813) and again approximately one (n = 1467), three (n = 1230) and seven years (n = 531) after relocating. Self-report measures included neighbourhood perceptions (modified NEWS items) and walking inside the neighbourhood (min/week). Objective built environmental measures were generated for each participant’s 1600 m neighbourhood at each time-point, and the count of crimes reported to police were generated at the suburb-level for the first three time-points only. The impact of crime-related safety on walking was examined in SAS using the Proc Mixed procedure (marginal repeated measures model with unrestricted variance pattern). Initial models controlled for demographics, time and self-selection, and subsequent models progressively adjusted for other built and social environment factors based on a social ecological model. For every increase of one level on a five-point Likert scale in perceived safety from crime, total walking within the local neighbourhood increased by 18.0 min/week (p = 0.000). This relationship attenuated to an increase of 10.5 min/week after accounting for other built and social environment factors, but remained significant (p = 0.008). Further analyses examined transport and recreational walking separately. In the fully adjusted models, each increase in safety from crime was associated with a 7.0 min/week increase in recreational walking (p = 0.009), however findings for transport walking were non-significant. All associations between suburb-level crime and walking were non-significant. This study provides longitudinal evidence of a potential causal relationship between residents’ perceptions of safety from crime and recreational walking. Safety perceptions appeared to influence recreational walking, rather than transport-related walking. Given the popularity of recreational walking and the need to increase levels of physical activity, community social and physical environmental interventions that foster residents’ feelings of safety are likely to increase recreational walking and produce public health gains.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2016
    • "A neighborhood's social environment also affects the physical activity among women living in disadvantaged areas (Timperio et al., 2015). A review by Foster and Giles-Corti (Foster and Giles-Corti, 2008 ) suggested that crime-related safety may restrain physical activity among women, although many of the studies included crime in a composite measure of safety. Furthermore , neighborhood disadvantage, incivilities, and crime disproportionately affect a minority of women, discouraging physical activity. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this paper, the city prosperity manifest is analyzed through a logical process and a framework is then proposed for designing healthy buildings in Tehran. The current status of urbanization in terms of the number of people living together and the changes in old behavior and perspectives have resulted in deficiencies to the health and hygiene of buildings apart from their surrounding environment. Consequently, these problems have affected people׳s well-being. This study mainly aims to determine policies and strategies for the architectural design of healthy buildings according to health and safety conditions that influence the quality of internal spaces and external environment of cities. The study is conducted based on logical reasoning and uses focus group and in-depth interviews to assess the final result. The result is a framework that suggests a number of policies that can promote the mental and physical health as well as hygiene of residents through healthy buildings.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2016
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