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Health Promot Pract. 2005 Jan;6(1):81-8.

Development and use of a tool for assessing sidewalk maintenance as an environmental support of physical activity.

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Chronic Disease Bureau, South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, Diabetes Prevention & Control Program, Columbia, South Carolina 29204, USA.


The importance of regular physical activity is well documented, yet according to epidemiological surveillance data, physical inactivity among all age groups persists. Past attempts to promote physical activity focused on individual-level changes; current approaches focus on environmental changes that will provide opportunities for whole communities to be active. The current ecological focus has led to an increase in funding and research regarding environmental supports of physical activity. As this is a new area of research, much work needs to be done to improve the ability to assess environmental features that support physical activity. This article describes a partnership between researchers and community members to develop and test an objective tool to measure sidewalk maintenance. Community members used data collected with the tool to increase awareness about sidewalk maintenance issues among local policy makers. Collaboration between researchers and community partners was critical for the success of this study.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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