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Public Health Nutr. 2005 Oct;8(7):886-95.

Environmental and psychosocial correlates of physical activity in Portuguese and Belgian adults.

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  • 1Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Watersportlaan 2, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium. Ilse.Debourdeaudhuij@Ugent.be

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To investigate differences in reported physical activity levels and in perceived environmental and psychosocial correlates of activity between Portuguese and Belgian adults; and to analyse the relative contribution of environmental and psychosocial variables in explaining physical activity within different contexts in Portugal and Belgium.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional study.

SETTING:

One city in Portugal (Oeiras) and one in Belgium (Ghent).

SUBJECTS:

In total 526 participants, 247 from Portugal and 279 from Belgium, completed the long International Physical Activity Questionnaire and a validated questionnaire on environmental and psychosocial correlates.

RESULTS:

For the sum of all activities of at least moderate intensity, a significantly higher mean level of activity was found in Belgian adults (P < 0.001). However, comparable percentages of the Belgian (38%) and Portuguese (42%) samples did not meet the recommendation of 30 min per day. The variance explained by environmental factors was lower (1% to 8%) than by psychosocial factors (maximum 42%). Regression analyses showed activity-specific relations with environmental variables which were analogous in both countries. Walking/cycling for transportation and walking for recreation were related to social support from family and/or friends and to walkability and walking facilities in the neighbourhood. Recreational physical activity was mainly determined by social support, self-efficacy, and perceived benefits and barriers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Activity campaigns addressing psychosocial determinants are needed to encourage leisure-time activity, while a combination of neighbourhood design changes and encouragement of social support in walking is warranted to increase walking in different contexts.

Comment in

PMID:
16277805
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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