The Built Environment Predicts Observed Physical Activity

This article reports on a study undertaken to examine the interrelationships between observed physical activity and measures of the built environment (specific geographic and socioeconomic characteristics). The authors collected data on 291 street segments in Indianapolis (Indiana) and St. Louis (Missouri). They selected these street segments using a stratified geographic sampling design so there would be representation of neighborhoods with different land use and socioeconomic characteristics. Characteristics of the built environment on-street segments were determined using two methods: in-person field audits and audits based on interpretation of Google Street View imagery (each method blinded to results from the other). These two auditing methods were used to determine with segments had or did not have a particular characteristic (e.g., sidewalk present or not). Direct observation was used to count individuals engaged in different forms of physical activity on each segment. The authors found that there were significantly more individuals engaged in physical activity on segments with mixed land use or all non-residential land use, and on segments with pedestrian infrastructure (e.g., crosswalks and sidewalks) and public transit. The authors conclude with a brief discussion of how changing the built environment and related policies may encourage more physical activity.


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  • Accession Number: 01539678
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 9 2014 4:56PM