Association of neighborhood design and recreation environment variables with physical activity and body mass index in adolescents

Am J Health Promot. 2007 Mar-Apr;21(4):274-7. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-21.4.274.


Purpose: To examine associations of neighborhood walkability and recreation environment variables with physical activity in adolescents.

Methods: The cross-sectional study was conducted with 98 white or Mexican-American adolescents (mean age = 16.2 years). Physical activity was measured with 7 days of accelerometer monitoring. Height and weight were measured to compute body mass index (BMI). Environmental measures were created using geographic information systems. A neighborhood walkability index was based on land use mix, retail density, street connectivity, and residential density. Proximity to public and private recreation facilities was assessed.

Results: In a linear regression, the walkability index within 0.5 mile of homes was related to minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, explaining approximately 4% of variance. Recreation variables were not related to physical activity, and BMI was not explained by environmental variables.

Conclusion: Neighborhood walkability was related to adolescents'physical activity, similar to findings for adults.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environment Design*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mexican Americans
  • Motor Activity*
  • Recreation*
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Whites