Cardiorespiratory fitness and proximity to commercial physical activity facilities among 12th grade girls

J Adolesc Health. 2012 May;50(5):497-502. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2011.09.018. Epub 2012 Feb 3.


Purpose: To investigate the relationship between proximity to commercial physical activity (PA) facilities and cardiorespiratory fitness of 12th grade girls.

Methods: Adolescent girls (n = 786, 60% African American, mean age = 17.6 ± .6 years) performed a submaximal fitness test (Physical Work Capacity 170 test). Commercial PA facilities were mapped and counted within a .75-mile street-network buffer around girls' homes using Geographic Information Systems. Sedentary activities and vigorous physical activity (≥6 metabolic equivalents) were determined by the average number of 30-minute blocks reported per day on the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall. Mixed model regressions were calculated using school as a random variable.

Results: Girls had higher weight-relative Physical Work Capacity 170 test scores if there was a commercial PA facility (n = 186, 12.4 ± 4.2 kg m/min/kg) within a .75-mile street-network buffer of home as compared with girls without a nearby facility (n = 600, 11.2 ± 3.6 kg m/min/kg). After adjusting for demographic variables, sports participation, sedentary behaviors, and vigorous physical activity, having one or more commercial PA facilities within a .75-mile street-network buffer of homes was significantly related to cardiorespiratory fitness.

Conclusions: Both with and without adjustment for covariates, the presence of a commercial PA facility within a .75-mile street-network buffer of a girl's home was associated with higher cardiorespiratory fitness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American
  • Body Mass Index
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Fitness Centers*
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Physical Fitness*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Social Class
  • Social Environment
  • South Carolina
  • Sports / statistics & numerical data*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • White People