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How are physical activity behaviors and cardiovascular risk factors associated with characteristics of the built and social residential environment?

Research paper by Michael M Eichinger, Sylvia S Titze, Bernd B Haditsch, Thomas E TE Dorner, Willibald J WJ Stronegger

Indexed on: 04 Jun '15Published on: 04 Jun '15Published in: PloS one



Abstract

The aim of our study was to identify perceptions of built and social residential characteristics and their association with behaviors such as physical activity (PA), nutrition and smoking and with cardiovascular risk factors (elevated BMI and fasting blood glucose).Among participants of a preventive medical checkup at an Austrian District Health Insurance Fund (n=904, response rate = 82.2%, 42% women, 18-91 years) self-reported and measured data were collected.Total PA was positively associated with the presence of trees along the streets and high levels of pro-physical activity social modeling (SM) and it was negatively related to perceived safety from crime. More leisure-time PA was associated with higher levels of cycling/walking infrastructure and high levels of SM. PA for transportation was positively related to high levels of connectivity and high levels of SM. Better behavioral cardiovascular risk factor profiles (smoking and nutrition) were associated with high levels of SM and high levels of total PA. Lower BMI values were associated with high levels of infrastructure and high levels of SM.Both built and social residential characteristics are important correlates of PA as well as of major cardiovascular risk factors besides PA.