Associations between home, workplace built environments and physical activity

November 26, 2014 by Neil Schoenherr, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis

Neighborhood features such as bike facilities and low crime rates are associated with increased leisure and workplace-related physical activity, according to a new study from the Prevention Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

Researchers conducted telephone interviews with 2,015 adults in four metropolitan areas of Missouri in 2012-13. Those interviewed were asked about what would encourage them to engage in near their homes and workplaces.

Researchers found that seven of 12 built environment features in parks and on greenways, such as "interesting things to look at," were associated with leisure physical activity. Associations between workplace neighborhoods' and physical activity were fewer but also supported physical activity.

The Prevention Research Center (PRC) is a
a collaboration between the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine and Brown School and Saint Louis University School of Public Health.

"Our findings suggest that diverse, attractive and around workplaces support walking, bicycling and use of public transit," wrote co-author J. Aaron Hipp, PhD, assistant professor at the Brown School and PRC faculty member.

The study is among the first to examine associations between home and workplace built environments and physical activity.

Exercise rates among urban residents of the U.S. are declining; fewer than 50 percent of adults and 40 percent of youth meet U.S. guidelines for physical activity.

The study was published online Nov. 6 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

More information: "Home and Workplace Built Environment Supports for Physical Activity." DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2014.08.023

Journal information: American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Provided by Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis