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Health Place. 2009 Mar;15(1):357-63. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.07.001. Epub 2008 Jul 9.

Environmental influences on physical activity levels in youth.

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  • 1Faculty of Health Sciences, Rm. 222, Arthur and Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 5B9.


This study assessed the amount of physical activity engaged in by youth aged 11-13, in relation to: (1) the presence of neighborhood recreational opportunities, objectively measured within a geographic information system; and (2) parents' perceptions of recreation opportunities in their neighborhoods. Students in grade 7 and 8 (n=811) in 21 elementary schools throughout London, Ontario completed the adapted Previous Day Physical Activity Recall and a questionnaire assessing environmental influences in the home and school neighborhoods. Parents/guardians of participants also completed a questionnaire eliciting demographic information and perceptions of the neighborhood environment. On average, students engaged in 159.9 min/day of physical activity. Both subjective and objective measures of recreational opportunities were associated positively with physical activity (p<0.05). Greater access to recreational opportunities seem essential to facilitate youths' healthy levels of physical activity.

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