Online Program

Effect of Policy/Environmental Interventions on Physical Activity Among Urban Children

Monday, November 2, 2015

Gregory Heath, DHSc, MPH, Health and Human Performance, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN
John Bilderback, MS, Division of Community Health, Chattanooga Hamilton County Health Department, Chattanooga, TN
Background:  Policy and environmental interventions contribute to physical activity (PA) yet there is a paucity of studies, especially among diverse populations, affected by such interventions.  A project occurring within a mid-sized Southeastern US city provided opportunity to assess the impact of PA policy and environmental interventions on the PA among predominately African-American urban dwelling children.  We hypothesized following 3 years of PA intervention; PA levels among these urban children would increase significantly.  Methods:  Using the System for Observing Physical Activity and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) we assessed parks, walking, and bike routes within the boundaries of urban neighborhoods to measure PA among children. SOPARC data were collected in 2011 and then 2014 in each of 8 settings in neighborhoods during 3 1-h observation periods for 5 days of clement weather. Observations were made Monday through Friday in each setting.  Results:  The SOPARC assessments of the pedestrian/bike routes/trails, and recreational space in each community yielded a total of 692 child/youth observations in 2011 while repeat measures in 2014 yielded 806 child/youth observations.  A greater number of physically active children were observed in 2014 compared to children observed in 2011 (OR = 4.2, 95% CL, 2.13, 8.5; Mantel-Haenszel Chi Square = 19.36; P< 0.00001).  Conclusions:  Findings support the hypothesis that policy and environmental interventions targeting infrastructure, signage, and use policies support increased PA levels among children ~ 3 year period. This difference was most remarkable when examining differences observed along the transport path/sidewalk routes and open recreational space.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify key policy and environmental components of an active living community intervention associated with increasing physical activity among racial/ethnically diverse children living in the inner city Describe a systematic approach to measuring physical activity behaviors among children through direct observation of behavior in communities

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator of multiple federally and foundational supported grants addressing the epidemiology and promotion of physical activity in communities. My scientific interests have been both the development and evaluation of physical activity promotion strategies at the individual and community level over the past 40 years, including 20+ years with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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.