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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2005 Sep 23;54(37):926-8.

Perceptions of neighborhood characteristics and leisure-time physical inactivity--Austin/Travis County, Texas, 2004.

Abstract

Regular physical activity improves quality of life and reduces risk for coronary heart disease, colon cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and overall mortality. Physical activity also has been associated with reduced symptoms of depression and greater independence. A sedentary lifestyle is associated with obesity. However, despite the health benefits of physical activity, 23.1% of adults in the United States report they do not engage in any leisure-time physical activity. Neighborhood environment (e.g., sidewalks and street lighting), perceived trustworthiness of neighbors, and perceptions of neighborhood safety all have been associated with levels of physical activity. During 2004, to assess the association between these factors and leisure-time physical inactivity in eastern Travis County, Texas, the local health department collected and analyzed data by using the methodology of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that persons who perceived their neighborhoods as less than extremely safe were more than twice as likely to have no leisure-time physical activity, and those who perceived their neighborhoods as not at all safe were nearly three times as likely to have no leisure-time physical activity. Public health agencies promoting physical activity in neighborhoods should consider how residents perceive their safety and design programs that specifically address those safety concerns.

PMID:
16177684
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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