• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of jepicomhJournal of Epidemiology and Community HealthVisit this articleSubmit a manuscriptReceive email alertsContact usBMJ
J Epidemiol Community Health. Feb 2001; 55(2): 139–146.
PMCID: PMC1731821

Self reported physical activity, public health, and perceived environment: results from a comparative European study

Abstract

STUDY OBJECTIVE—The focus of physical activity promotion is moving from methods for increasing health enhancing physical activity on the individual level to higher level strategies including environmental and policy approaches. Scientific inquiry, traditionally related to individual-based strategies, requires adaptation and refinement when environmental and policy changes become more relevant. The objective of this study is to investigate the significance for behaviour and health of community-based environments that encourage physical activity.
DESIGN AND SETTING—The article presents data and results from a cross sectional comparative survey of the general population in six European countries (Belgium, Finland, Germany (East and West), Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland). Specifically, the relation between perceived community-based opportunities for physical activity, self reported physical activity, and self rated health status is investigated.
PARTICIPANTS—Representative samples of general populations (adults 18 years or older). Overall response rate: 53.5%. Sample sizes realised: Belgium: n = 389; Finland: n = 400; Germany (East): n = 913; Germany (West): n = 489; Netherlands: n = 366; Spain: n = 380; Switzerland: n =406.
MAIN RESULTS—Analyses show that best opportunities are reported by people who are lightly to moderately physically active. People's self rated health is moderately, but significantly associated with both perceived opportunities, and physical activity itself. These predictors interact in that especially for women, the health impact of physical activity is more pronounced in case of good opportunities.
CONCLUSIONS—The paper shows the potential of opportunities within residential and community environments with regard to physical activity, both for behaviour and health. Opportunities may enable the population, especially women, to develop an active lifestyle, and thus improve their health. Future studies with objective indicators for physical activity related environments should test the findings that are based on perceptions.


Keywords: physical activity; environment; health promotion

Full Text

The Full Text of this article is available as a PDF (174K).

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Blair SN, Booth M, Gyarfas I, Iwane H, Marti B, Matsudo V, Morrow MS, Noakes T, Shephard R. Development of public policy and physical activity initiatives internationally. Sports Med. 1996 Mar;21(3):157–163. [PubMed]
  • Martin BW, Marti B. Bewegung und Sport: eine unterschätzte Gesundheitsressource. Ther Umsch. 1998 Apr;55(4):221–228. [PubMed]
  • Berlin JA, Colditz GA. A meta-analysis of physical activity in the prevention of coronary heart disease. Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Oct;132(4):612–628. [PubMed]
  • Blair SN, Kohl HW, 3rd, Paffenbarger RS, Jr, Clark DG, Cooper KH, Gibbons LW. Physical fitness and all-cause mortality. A prospective study of healthy men and women. JAMA. 1989 Nov 3;262(17):2395–2401. [PubMed]
  • Paffenbarger RS, Jr, Hyde RT, Wing AL, Hsieh CC. Physical activity, all-cause mortality, and longevity of college alumni. N Engl J Med. 1986 Mar 6;314(10):605–613. [PubMed]
  • Powell KE, Thompson PD, Caspersen CJ, Kendrick JS. Physical activity and the incidence of coronary heart disease. Annu Rev Public Health. 1987;8:253–287. [PubMed]
  • DiPietro L, Williamson DF, Caspersen CJ, Eaker E. The descriptive epidemiology of selected physical activities and body weight among adults trying to lose weight: the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, 1989. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1993 Feb;17(2):69–76. [PubMed]
  • Brownson RC, Schmid TL, King AC, Eyler AA, Pratt M, Murayi T, Mayer JP, Brown DR. Support for policy interventions to increase physical activity in rural Missouri. Am J Health Promot. 1998 Mar-Apr;12(4):263–266. [PubMed]
  • King AC. Community and public health approaches to the promotion of physical activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1994 Nov;26(11):1405–1412. [PubMed]
  • King AC, Jeffery RW, Fridinger F, Dusenbury L, Provence S, Hedlund SA, Spangler K. Environmental and policy approaches to cardiovascular disease prevention through physical activity: issues and opportunities. Health Educ Q. 1995 Nov;22(4):499–511. [PubMed]
  • Schmid TL, Pratt M, Howze E. Policy as intervention: environmental and policy approaches to the prevention of cardiovascular disease. Am J Public Health. 1995 Sep;85(9):1207–1211. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • King AC. How to promote physical activity in a community: research experiences from the US highlighting different community approaches. Patient Educ Couns. 1998 Apr;33(1 Suppl):S3–12. [PubMed]
  • Erben R, Franzkowiak P, Wenzel E. Assessment of the outcomes of health intervention. Soc Sci Med. 1992 Aug;35(4):359–365. [PubMed]
  • Kickbusch I. Life-styles and health. Soc Sci Med. 1986;22(2):117–124. [PubMed]
  • Rütten A. The implementation of health promotion: a new structural perspective. Soc Sci Med. 1995 Dec;41(12):1627–1637. [PubMed]
  • Berkman LF. The role of social relations in health promotion. Psychosom Med. 1995 May-Jun;57(3):245–254. [PubMed]
  • Berkman LF, Syme SL. Social networks, host resistance, and mortality: a nine-year follow-up study of Alameda County residents. Am J Epidemiol. 1979 Feb;109(2):186–204. [PubMed]
  • Lindheim R, Syme SL. Environments, people, and health. Annu Rev Public Health. 1983;4:335–359. [PubMed]
  • Link BG, Phelan J. Social conditions as fundamental causes of disease. J Health Soc Behav. 1995;Spec No:80–94. [PubMed]
  • Taylor SE, Repetti RL, Seeman T. Health psychology: what is an unhealthy environment and how does it get under the skin? Annu Rev Psychol. 1997;48:411–447. [PubMed]
  • Milio N. Priorities and strategies for promoting community-based prevention policies. J Public Health Manag Pract. 1998 May;4(3):14–28. [PubMed]
  • Stokols D. Establishing and maintaining healthy environments. Toward a social ecology of health promotion. Am Psychol. 1992 Jan;47(1):6–22. [PubMed]
  • Wallerstein N. Powerlessness, empowerment, and health: implications for health promotion programs. Am J Health Promot. 1992 Jan-Feb;6(3):197–205. [PubMed]
  • Syme SL. Social epidemiology and the work environment. Int J Health Serv. 1988;18(4):635–645. [PubMed]
  • Aneshensel CS, Sucoff CA. The neighborhood context of adolescent mental health. J Health Soc Behav. 1996 Dec;37(4):293–310. [PubMed]
  • Ennett ST, Flewelling RL, Lindrooth RC, Norton EC. School and neighborhood characteristics associated with school rates of alcohol, cigarette, and marijuana use. J Health Soc Behav. 1997 Mar;38(1):55–71. [PubMed]
  • Wallace R. Urban desertification, public health and public order: 'planned shrinkage', violent death, substance abuse and AIDS in the Bronx. Soc Sci Med. 1990;31(7):801–813. [PubMed]
  • Sallis JF, Hovell MF, Hofstetter CR, Elder JP, Hackley M, Caspersen CJ, Powell KE. Distance between homes and exercise facilities related to frequency of exercise among San Diego residents. Public Health Rep. 1990 Mar-Apr;105(2):179–185. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Linenger JM, Chesson CV, 2nd, Nice DS. Physical fitness gains following simple environmental change. Am J Prev Med. 1991 Sep-Oct;7(5):298–310. [PubMed]
  • Ainsworth BE, Jacobs DR, Jr, Leon AS. Validity and reliability of self-reported physical activity status: the Lipid Research Clinics questionnaire. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1993 Jan;25(1):92–98. [PubMed]
  • Idler EL, Benyamini Y. Self-rated health and mortality: a review of twenty-seven community studies. J Health Soc Behav. 1997 Mar;38(1):21–37. [PubMed]
  • Sallis JF, Johnson MF, Calfas KJ, Caparosa S, Nichols JF. Assessing perceived physical environmental variables that may influence physical activity. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1997 Dec;68(4):345–351. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health are provided here courtesy of BMJ Group

Formats:

Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...

Links

  • PubMed
    PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...