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Perceived community environment and physical activity involvement in a northern-rural Aboriginal community.

Author information

  • 1Primary Healthcare Research Unit, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St, John's, Newfoundland, Canada. amkirby@mun.ca

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affects Aboriginal peoples in Canada. Ample evidence shows that regular physical activity (PA) plays an important role in the prevention and treatment of type 2 diabetes. Evidence is beginning to emerge linking PA to the physical environment but little is known about the relationship between remote rural environments and PA involvement in Aboriginal peoples. This study's purpose was to investigate the relationship between perceptions of the environment and PA and walking patterns in Aboriginal adults in order to inform the planning and implementation of community-relevant PA interventions.

METHODS:

Two hundred and sixty three residents (133 women, mean age = 35.6 years, SD = 12.3 and 130 men, mean age = 37.2 years, SD = 13.1) from Moose Factory, Ontario were asked about environmental factors related to walking and PA involvement. Survey items were drawn from standardized, validated questionnaires. Descriptive statistics (means, standard deviations, percentages) were calculated. A series of hierarchical multiple regressions were performed to determine associations between walking and overall PA with perceived environmental variables.

RESULTS:

Hierarchical multiple regression to predict walking revealed significant associations between walking and perceived safety and aesthetics. Owning home exercise equipment predicted strenuous PA. Different aspects of the physical environment appear to influence different types of physical activities. The significant amount of variance in behaviour accounted for by perceived environmental variables (5.3% walking) included safety, aesthetics, convenience, owning home exercise equipment and comfortable shoes for walking.

CONCLUSION:

Results suggest that a supportive physical environment is important for PA involvement and that walking and activities of different intensity appear to be mediated by different perceived environmental variables. Implications for PA promotion in rural environments where Aboriginal people face many unique environmental features (e.g., bears, mosquitoes, extreme cold) are discussed.

PMID:
18053217
[PubMed]
PMCID:
PMC2217526
Free PMC Article
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