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Am J Health Promot. 2007 Mar-Apr;21(4 Suppl):397-407.

Promoting active community environments through land use and transportation planning.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Bank of America Center, 137 East Franklin Street Suite 306, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, USA.



To examine the role of land use and transportation plans as policy instruments for promoting active community environments.


Cross-sectional analysis using multilevel models to examine whether active community environment scores were associated with leisure and transportation-related physical activity (PA) and whether associations varied by household income.


67 North Carolina counties


Adults (n = 6694) from pooled 2000 and 2002 North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) surveys.


Active community environment scores, derived from a 2003 survey of planning directors, representing the presence of nonmotorized transportation improvements, mixed land use classification, and comprehensiveness of implementation tools. Dependent variables were self-reported PA measures from the BRFSS. Sociodemographic variables were derived from the 2000 U.S. Census of Population.


After adjustment for sociodemographic factors, more favorable active community environment scores were significantly associated with leisure PA (p = .001), transportation PA (p < .01), bicycling (p < .05), walking 150 minutes/week (p < .001), and meeting PA recommendations (p < .0001). In stratified analyses, lower-income individuals (<$25, 000) living in high scoring counties were three times more likely to participate in transportation PA compared with those living in low scoring counties (95% confidence interval, 1.4, 7.3).


This study identifies previously unexamined policy and institutional correlates of PA related to land use and transportation planning. Plans may provide a means to incorporate community support for active living into public policy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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