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Am J Prev Med. 2012 Nov;43(5 Suppl 4):S367-78. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2012.06.028.

Evaluation results from an active living intervention in Somerville, Massachusetts.

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Department of Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.



Community policies and programs can encourage active living and promote physical activity among residents. Somerville MA implemented an Active Living by Design project in 2003-2008 that promoted partnerships and advocacy to encourage physical activity.


To evaluate the Active Living by Design project implemented in Somerville.


A retrospective design assessed relative differences in the rates of meeting moderate or vigorous physical activity recommendations among middle- and high-school students and adults at baseline and follow-up within Somerville and at follow-up only in Everett MA, a comparison community. The middle- and high-school Youth Risk Behavior Surveys and the adult Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey were supplemented with Active Living by Design evaluation-specific questions at follow-up. Analyses included chi-square and logistic regression modeling to assess relationships.


Approximately 1000 youth completed surveys at baseline and follow-up in Somerville and at follow-up in Everett. Similarly, adult residents completed surveys at baseline (n=1081) and follow-up in Somerville (n=644) and follow-up in Everett (n=608). Within Somerville, high school-aged students and adults were more likely to meet physical activity recommendations at follow-up after adjusting for demographic, health, and behavioral variables (OR=1.6 [95% CI=1.34, 1.92] and 2.36 [95% CI=2.29, 2.43], respectively). Between cities, Somerville adults were 1.47 (95% CI=1.37, 1.56) times more likely than Everett adults to meet physical activity recommendations.


Community-based active living interventions may help residents meet physical activity recommendations. To improve community health, public health surveillance data can identify predictors of meeting physical activity recommendations that can be used to inform city policy and planning.

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