Sport fields as potential catalysts for physical activity in the neighbourhood

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2012 Jan;9(1):294-314. doi: 10.3390/ijerph9010294. Epub 2012 Jan 19.


Physical activity is associated with access to recreational facilities such as sports fields. Because it is not clear whether objectively- or subjectively-assessed access to facilities exerts a stronger influence on physical activity, we investigated the association between the objective and perceived accessibility of sport fields and the levels of self-reported physical activity among adults in Edmonton, Canada. A sample of 2879 respondents was surveyed regarding their socio-demographics, health status, self-efficacy, levels of physical activity, as well as their perceptions of built environment in relation to physical activity. Neighbourhood-level data were obtained for each respondent based on their residence. Accessibility to facilities was assessed using the enhanced Two-Step Floating Catchment Area method. Geographic Information Systems were employed. A logistic regression was performed to predict physical activity using individual- and neighbourhood-level variables. Women, older individuals, and individuals with higher educational attainment were less likely to be physically active. Also, individuals with higher self-efficacy and higher objectively-assessed access to facilities were more likely to be physically active. Interventions that integrate provision of relevant programs for various population groups and of improved recreational facilities may contribute to sport fields becoming catalysts for physical activity by generating movement both on the site and in the neighbourhood.

Keywords: Geographic Information Systems; accessibility; enhanced 2 Step Floating Catchment Area (E2SFCA) method; physical activity; sport fields; urban form.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alberta
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sports*
  • Young Adult

Grant support