"We are not just measuring physical activity, but we are linking it to a location using small activity monitors and global positioning system devices," said Philip J. Troped, an assistant professor of health and kinesiology. "A better understanding of how neighborhood environments influence people's behaviors could help us to get more people to be physically active and healthy."
For example, a better understanding of where physical activity occurs and the characteristics of those areas could be used to develop more tailored intervention programs or messages to encourage physical activity at those locations, as well as to shape policy for urban planning and transportation systems.
"Research has shown that there is a positive relationship between characteristics of neighborhood-built environments and physical activity, but one of the limitations is that the data have been collected with devices that only measure activity, so assumptions are made that physical activity is mostly happening around where people live - and that may not be the case," he said.
Such built environments are humanmade and can reflect urban planning features such as how neighborhoods are designed, convenience of trails and parks, width of sidewalks, and the connectivity of transportation routes.
Troped and his research team found that most of the moderate to vigorous physical activity people participated in took place outside a 1-kilometer buffer zone around their home.
When moderate to vigorous physical activity occurred within 1 kilometer of a person's home, the buffer zone had a higher density of residential housing, more connected streets and a greater mix of residential and commercial land uses, which can allow people to walk to destinations such as stores.
"In future studies using GPS and activity monitors, we will try to move away from a focus on the area where people live to try to better understand the range of locations, near and far from home, where people are active and the characteristics of those environments," Troped said.
The research team fitted 148 people, ages 19-78, with activity monitors and GPS devices for four days - two weekdays and two weekend days - in the Boston metropolitan area. The activity monitors, also known as accelerometers, record the intensity of activity each minute during a person's waking hours. As the intensity for each minute increases, such as from walking to running, the activity count for each minute increases. If a person is sitting in a car or just fidgeting, then a low level of activity is reported. The global positioning systems device was worn whenever the individual was outdoors or leaving the home.
The findings were published in April's American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
"We are really just scratching the surface on this type of research, but it's a start," Troped said. "More work needs to be done to identify areas where people are physically active and better understand the qualities of those areas that attract people to them. We also need to learn how this might differ by age and racial and ethnic background so we can use this information to develop interventions for different audiences."
In addition to Troped, the research team was composed of Jeffrey S. Wilson of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis: Charles E. Matthews of the National Cancer Institute: Ellen K. Cromley of the Institute for Community Research in Hartford, Conn.; and Steven J. Melly of the Harvard School of Public Health.
The study was supported with funding from the Active Living Research Program, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Purdue's College of Liberal Arts.
Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, email@example.com
Source: Philip Troped, 765-496-9486, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amy Patterson Neubert | EurekAlert!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.
Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
09.12.2016 | Life Sciences
09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine