Online Program

Does outdoor physical activity in st. louis, Missouri, differ by neighborhood socio-economic status?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Deepti Adlakha, PhD Student, Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
J. Aaron Hipp, PhD, Brown School, Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Elizabeth Budd, MPH, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Sonia Sequeira, MPH, MSW, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Introduction: Abundant evidence shows regular physical activity (PA) and time outdoors are effective strategies for preventing obesity and stress in people of all ages. Characteristics of neighborhood environments are a common barrier to PA. The present project analyzes existing, online public web data feeds to assess differences in outdoor PA by neighborhood (census tracts) socio-economic status (SES) in St. Louis, MO.

Methods: We are analyzing participant-defined PA routes submitted by users of This website enables participants to track their walking and running routes online, by uploading data from a GPS navigation device. We are visually illustrating the routes using Geographic Information Systems and overlaying routes with indicators of neighborhood SES to examine spatial access and use of parklands and public infrastructure (i.e., sidewalks) for outdoor PA.

Results: Pending results from this study can improve technical capability in measuring rates of PA by identifying neighborhood preferences for outdoor walking and running. This can inform land use policy decisions, particularly in inaccessible neighborhood environments, which ought to be structured in ways that can provide residents with resources and opportunities to easily incorporate PA into daily routines.

Conclusions: We present a novel effort combining expertise of researchers in urban planning, public health, and communication technology by using inexpensive, unobtrusive, and publicly available web data feeds (i.e., crowd-sourcing) to evaluate neighborhood PA. Understanding neighborhood factors that influence PA have broader urban design and public health implications, especially for vulnerable populations living in neighborhoods with limited or no accessibility to outdoor PA resources.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Communication and informatics
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate the use of online, freely available public web data feeds (crowd-sourcing) to understand patterns of human behavior. Identify preferred routes and neighborhood environments for outdoor physical activity in the St. Louis (MO) Metro Area. Improve technical capability and communication in measuring and mapping accessibility and use of parklands and public infrastructure (e.g. sidewalks) for outdoor physical activity.

Keyword(s): Technology, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am currently a research assistant on projects with a focus on emerging technologies, public health, built environment, and promotion of 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.