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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(2), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15020333

Examining the Influence of a New Light Rail Line on the Health of a Demographically Diverse and Understudied Population within the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area: A Protocol for a Natural Experiment Study

1
Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
2
School of Architecture, Planning & Preservation, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
3
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
4
Center for Geospatial Information Science, Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
5
Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 9 February 2018 / Published: 13 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion)
Full-Text   |   PDF [2004 KB, uploaded 26 February 2018]   |  

Abstract

Approximately two-thirds of adults and youth in Prince George’s County, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C. are overweight or obese and less than half are achieving daily physical activity recommendations. Active transportation (AT), such as walking, biking or using public transportation (PT), is a strategic pathway to improving physical activity levels and thus reducing excess weight. Utilizing an expansion of the Washington, D.C. area transportation system with a new light rail line, the Purple Line Outcomes on Transportation (PLOT) Study will exam pre- and post-Purple Line PT use, AT behaviors and attitudes and physical activity among Prince George’s County adults and youth. The PLOT Study will take advantage of this natural experiment in an area enduring significant racial/ethnic and gender-based overweight or obesity and physical inactivity disparities. While similar natural experiments on AT have been conducted in other U.S. cities, those studies lacked diverse and representative samples. To effectively evaluate these physical activity outcomes among this population, efforts will be used to recruit African American and Latino populations, the first and second most common racial/ethnic groups in Prince George’s County. Finally, the PLOT Study will also examine how contextual effects (e.g., neighborhood built environment) impact PT, AT and physical activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: active transportation; light rail; built environment; natural experiment; sense of community active transportation; light rail; built environment; natural experiment; sense of community
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Roberts, J.D.; Hu, M.; Saksvig, B.I.; Brachman, M.L.; Durand, C.P. Examining the Influence of a New Light Rail Line on the Health of a Demographically Diverse and Understudied Population within the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area: A Protocol for a Natural Experiment Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 333.

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