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Open AccessArticle

Physical Activity and the Perceived Neighbourhood Environment — Looking at the Association the Other Way Around

1
Institute of Sport Science, Julius-Maximilians University, Würzburg, D-97082 Würzburg, Germany
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Institute of Health Promotion and Clinical Movement Science, German Sport University, D-50933 Cologne, Germany
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The Research Unit for Movement, Health and Environment, The Swedish School of Sport and Health Sciences, GIH, SE-11486 Stockholm, Sweden
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Department of Health Sciences, Mid Sweden University, SE-83125 Östersund, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(8), 8093-8111; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph110808093
Received: 4 May 2014 / Revised: 28 July 2014 / Accepted: 29 July 2014 / Published: 8 August 2014
The association between physical activity (PA) and variables of the perceived environment mainly originate from cross-sectional studies that introduced the idea that the environment influences the PA level of residents. However, the direction of cause and effect has not been solved with finality. The aim of this study was to investigate whether residents’ perception of their proximate environment differs depending on their level of PA in transport and recreation. We conducted a cross-sectional survey with residents of six different parts of the city of Cologne, Germany. The sample of 470 adults (52.8% females; mean age = 35.5 ± 13.8 years) filled in the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ), as well as the European Environmental Questionnaire ALPHA. To distinguish between residents with “low” and “high” PA, we split the samples into two on the basis of the specific median in transport- and recreation-related PA. In the “high” vs. “low” PA group of the overall sample, we noted 4%–16% more “PA favourable” environmental perceptions in seven of the 15 environmental variables. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to investigate associations of socio-demographic correlates and transport- and recreation-related PA on the dependent variables of the environmental perception. In this case, levels of PA were significant predictors for eight of the 15 items concerning environmental perceptions. Thus, the present study introduces the idea that residents with higher levels of transport and recreational PA may perceive their environment in a more “PA-favourable” way than residents with lower levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: physical activity; perceived physical environment; sex; association; socio-demographic; correlates; Europe; Germany; transport-related physical activity; recreation-related physical activity physical activity; perceived physical environment; sex; association; socio-demographic; correlates; Europe; Germany; transport-related physical activity; recreation-related physical activity
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Wallmann-Sperlich, B.; Froboese, I.; Schantz, P. Physical Activity and the Perceived Neighbourhood Environment — Looking at the Association the Other Way Around. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11, 8093-8111.

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