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Am J Health Promot. 2003 Sep-Oct;18(1):83-92.

Environmental correlates of physical activity in a sample of Belgian adults.

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Department of Movement and Sport Sciences, Ghent University, Watersportlaan 2, 9000 Ghent, Belgium.



This study investigated the variance in sitting, walking, and moderate and vigorous physical activity explained by neighborhood design and recreational environmental variables above and beyond the variance accounted for by individual demographic variables.


Cross-sectional analyses of self-reported survey data.


A random sample of inhabitants of Ghent, Belgium, aged 18-65 years, was drawn.


Five hundred twenty-one adults completed questionnaires (52.1% response rate). The average age of the sample was 41 years, and 48.2% were female.


A questionnaire developed to assess neighborhood design and recreational environmental variables with a total of 81 items was administered. The environmental questionnaire showed acceptable to good reliability and acceptable validity. The previously validated International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) was used to quantify physical activity in the past 7 days. Additional demographic information was also obtained.


Regression analyses showed that environmental variables were related to all types of physical activity in both sexes. However, the range of variance explained by the models including demographic and environmental variables was low, only 5% to 13%. Minutes of walking and of moderate-intensity activity were related to quality of sidewalks and accessibility of shopping and public transportation. Vigorous physical activity was related to presence of activity supplies in the home and number of convenient activity facilities outside the home.


Both neighborhood design and recreational environment variables had small but significant associations with multiple types of physical activity in a sample of Belgian adults.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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