The Perceived and Built Environment Surrounding Urban Schools and Physical Activity Among Adolescent Girls
This study examined whether the relationship between perceptions of the built environment and the physical environment surrounding schools predicts levels of moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).
Twelve schools were selected to participate (primarily serving low-income African American communities); 224 girls in 6th- and 7th-grade. Ankle accelerometer data captured minutes per day in MVPA. A 10-item questionnaire captured perceptions of the neighborhood environment surrounding the school. Neighborhood built environment assessment was conducted using an audit extending one-quarter of a mile from the school.
- More positive perceptions of the environment around their school was correlated with girls who were significantly less active. However, both measured and perceived accessibility, i.e., having a place to go within walking distance, positively related to MVPA.
This study focused on a very specific population, and the findings are not generalizable. However, examining the neighborhoods (as opposed to the individual level) surrounding schools will help future policy recommendations by reaching a larger number of children and families.
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