Researchers identify key indicators for activity-friendly communities

October 31, 2006

There is no doubt that people can benefit from regular physical activity. There is also no doubt that Americans do not get enough exercise. While there is a long list of policies and methods that might increase participation, advocates, community leaders, and researchers lack the tools needed to assess local barriers to and opportunities for more active, healthy lifestyles.

In a study published in the December 2006 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers used a systematic review process to identify key indicators of activity-friendly communities that can be used to assess and improve opportunities for regular physical activity.

By searching peer-reviewed journals, reports and websites, the authors identified 230 potential factors that might be used to assess activity-friendly communities. Then, using a consensus-building approach among experts drawn from a wide range of institutions, government agencies, and not-for-profits, they identified ten key indicators that could serve as the foundation of efforts to design activity-friendly communities.

Example indicators include land use policies that favor closer distances between home and shopping. Interesting things to look at while walking was important, as was a clean and safe environment.

Writing in the article, Laura Brennan Ramirez, PhD, MPH, states, "These findings represent an important first step in the identification of practical and empirical indicators that can be used to assess and improve the degree to which communities support routine physical activity. This initial set of indicators can serve as the basis for further study of physical activity indicators in different populations (e.g., older adults, children, women, racial and ethnic minorities) and settings (e.g., urban, rural, schools, worksites, healthcare facilities, faith-based organizations)."

Source: Elsevier Health Sciences

Explore further: Climate change consensus extends beyond climate scientists

Related Stories

Climate change consensus extends beyond climate scientists

September 24, 2015

A Purdue University-led survey of nearly 700 scientists from non-climate disciplines shows that more than 90 percent believe that average global temperatures are higher than pre-1800s levels and that human activity has significantly ...

Gender affects awarding of research funding

September 22, 2015

Women are still underrepresented in top academic positions. One of the possible explanations for this is the increasing importance of obtaining research funding. Women are often less successful in this than men. Psychology ...

Staying safe in sandy beaches

August 28, 2015

Beach sand contains all kinds of microorganisms, including those that can harm human health. Yet current guidelines are focused exclusively on monitoring the levels of microbes in the water.

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.