Relationship of urban trail use and the built environment with moderate to vigorous physical activity
Reynolds, KD and Spruijt-Metz, D and Wilch, J and Chou, C-P and Jerrett, M and Byrne, JA and Weaver, S and Fulton, W and Wang, L, Relationship of urban trail use and the built environment with moderate to vigorous physical activity, Proceedings from the American Public Health Association Conference, 3-7 November 2007, Washington, D.C. United States (2007) [Refereed Conference Paper]
Urban trails provide opportunities for physical activity. Trail use may influence levels of physical activity but this influence may be modified by features of the built environment. This study examined whether self-reported urban trail use was associated with moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) after the influence of the built environment was controlled. Methods: Adults (N = 490) living within a 1-mile buffer zone of one of three urban trails (Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles) completed a self-report measure of trail use and wore an accelerometer for 7-days providing objective physical activity data. GIS indicators of the built environment (e.g., connectivity) and characteristics of residents (e.g., income) surrounding each trail were compiled. Perceptions of the built environment and intrinsic motivation were also tested. Results: Regression procedures indicated that greater trail use (Yes/No) was significantly associated with higher levels of MVPA (p<.004) controlling for population density, city, built environment and intrinsic motivation. The presence of pedestrian walkways (p<.002), higher connectivity (p<.03), more feet of bus lines (p<.02), and higher intrinsic motivation (p<.0001) were associated with higher MVPA. Interactions between environmental variables and trail use were explored with the percentage of people having no vehicle interacting with trail use (p<.06). Conclusions: MVPA may be increased by trail use and beyond the influence of motivation and other built environmental factors. The promotion of trail use may be warranted as a strategy to increase levels of MVPA.