Purpose: The purpose of the study was to examine associations between environment and policy factors and physical activity.
Design: A random-digit-dialed, cross-sectional telephone survey was administered.
Setting: The setting was a two-county area of eastern South Carolina.
Subjects: Before weighting, the sample included 1936 adults; 36.9% African-American, 63.1% white, and 60.1% women. The age group distribution was 28.8% 55+ years, 39.3% 35-54 years, and 31.9% 18-34 years of age. The response rate was 62.9%.
Measures: Six physical activity questions (2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey [BRFSS]) were used to create a dischotomous variable, "meets/does not meet recommendation for moderate or vigorous physical activity." Self-report items assessed knowledge, presence, and use of recreational facilities; presence of environmental and worksite supports; perceived safety; condition of sidewalks; and quality of street lighting.
Results: Linear and logistic regression were used to analyze the data. Unadjusted odds for meeting the recommendation were significantly greater for well-maintained sidewalks (OR = 1.90); safe areas for walking/jogging (OR = 1.39); knowledge of routes for bicycling (OR = 1.38) and walking/jogging (OR = 1.32); and worksites with sports teams (OR = 1.53), exercise facilities (OR = 1.33), flexible time for exercise (OR = 1.33), and preventive checkups (OR = 1.26). Among persons who met the recommendation, means were greater for number of known walking/jogging routes (p = .04); number of known bicycling routes (p < .01); number of days per month uses tracks, trails, routes, pathways (p < .01); and number of days per month uses outdoor recreation areas (p < .01).
Conclusion: The results support an association between level of physical activity and environmental and policy factors in two southeastern counties in South Carolina. Limitations of the study include self-reported data and cross-sectional design.