Online Program

Perceptions of the built environment influence support for local physical activity policies

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Jeanette Gustat, PhD, Department of Epidemiology; Prevention Research Center, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Tian Hu, MD, MS, Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
Karin Valentine Goins, MPH, Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA
Rachel Tabak, PhD, Prevention Research Center, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Cheryl A. Carnoske, MPH, RD, Prevention Research Center, Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Keelia O'Malley, MPH, Tulane Prevention Research Center, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Jill Litt, PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Colorado School of Public Health, Aurora, CO
Amy A. Eyler, PhD, The Brown School & Prevention Research Center of St. Louis, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
The built environment has been shown to be an important factor that influences physical activity levels and lifestyles of individuals in various settings. Support for policies that result in a health-promoting built environment may be influenced by individuals' perceptions of their local built environment. A random-digit-dialed, telephone interview (n=1208) was conducted in US counties selected for either high (HIGH) or low (LOW) prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Scales were created representing support for policies in schools, worksites and the community. Scales were created to capture respondent's' perceptions of their neighborhood built and food environments. Mean scores were determined for each scale. Regression models examined the influence of the built environment scales on support for policies. All analyses were stratified by HIGH and LOW county status. Individuals in LOW counties had higher mean scores in perceptions of their local food environment (p<0.001), neighborhood aesthetics (p<0.001) and destinations and facilities (p<0.001). Inverse associations were found between perceptions and support for policies with individuals from HIGH counties and LOW counties. More significant associations were found for individuals from LOW counties. Perceptions of environment differed by county obesity and inactivity prevalence. Policy support varied by perceptions of the built environment. Individuals in counties with lower prevalence of obesity and physical inactivity were less likely to support policies to improve the built environment. These findings have implications for policy change in schools, worksites and the community.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe various measures of the built environment by county-level obesity and physical activity status. Assess how perceptions of the built environment are associated with support for physical activity policies. Examine differences in support for policies that promote physical activity by county obesity and physical activity status.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been an investigator of the CDC funded Prevention Research Center at Tulane University and have studied how the built environment influences behavior for several years. I am also funded to examine the relationshop of policy on physical activity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.