Environment and active living: the roles of health risk and economic factors.
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PURPOSE: This study examines the associations that a neighborhood ' physical and social environments have with transportation and recreation physical activities, with an emphasis on the roles of health risk and economic factors. DESIGN: It is a cross-sectional study with a hypothesis-testing approach. Setting. The study was conducted within the city of Seattle, Washington. Subjects. The subjects included 438 able-bodied, randomly selected adults. MEASURES: Physical activity and sociodemographic data came from a telephone survey (34 % response rate). Environmental variables were measured subjectively as people's perceptions and objectively using the Geographic Information System. Bivariate analyses and the Structural Equation Model were used to test the overall theoretic framework and the relationships among latent and observed variables. RESULTS: Lower-income populations lived in areas with more routine destinations and higher densities and were more active for transportation than higher-income populations. People with higher health risks were less active for both transportation and recreation purposes. The social environment-perception of people walking and biking in the neighborhood-was more strongly associated with recreational physical activities, while the physical environment was more strongly associated with transportation physical activities. CONCLUSION: Further investigation of different subpopulations and explicit distinction among different purposes of physical activities are needed in future research and interventions. This study is limited to urban areas and cross-sectional data.
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