Environmental influences on physical activity levels in youth

Health Place. 2009 Mar;15(1):357-63. doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2008.07.001. Epub 2008 Jul 9.


This study assessed the amount of physical activity engaged in by youth aged 11-13, in relation to: (1) the presence of neighborhood recreational opportunities, objectively measured within a geographic information system; and (2) parents' perceptions of recreation opportunities in their neighborhoods. Students in grade 7 and 8 (n=811) in 21 elementary schools throughout London, Ontario completed the adapted Previous Day Physical Activity Recall and a questionnaire assessing environmental influences in the home and school neighborhoods. Parents/guardians of participants also completed a questionnaire eliciting demographic information and perceptions of the neighborhood environment. On average, students engaged in 159.9 min/day of physical activity. Both subjective and objective measures of recreational opportunities were associated positively with physical activity (p<0.05). Greater access to recreational opportunities seem essential to facilitate youths' healthy levels of physical activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Environment Design*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • London
  • Male
  • Recreation
  • Surveys and Questionnaires