Association of environmental factors to meeting physical activity recommendations in two South Carolina counties

Am J Health Promot. Jan-Feb 2004;18(3):251-7. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-18.3.251.


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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology
  • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environment Design*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / psychology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Behavior* / ethnology
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • South Carolina