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Longitudinal associations between perceptions of the neighbourhood environment and physical activity in adolescents: evidence from the Olympic Regeneration in East London (ORiEL) study

Berger, N; Lewis, D; Quartagno, M; Njagi, EN; Cummins, S; (2019) Longitudinal associations between perceptions of the neighbourhood environment and physical activity in adolescents: evidence from the Olympic Regeneration in East London (ORiEL) study. BMC Public Health , 19 , Article 1760. 10.1186/s12889-019-8003-7. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: Most UK adolescents do not achieve recommended levels of physical activity. Previous studies suggested that perceptions of the neighbourhood environment could contribute to explain differences in physical activity behaviours. We aimed to examine whether five measures of perceptions - perceived bus stop proximity, traffic safety, street connectivity, enjoyment of the neighbourhood for walking/cycling, and personal safety - were longitudinally associated with common forms of physical activity, namely walking to school, walking for leisure, and a composite measure of outdoor physical activity. We further aimed to investigate the moderating role of gender. METHODS: We used longitudinal data from the Olympic Regeneration in East London (ORiEL) study, a prospective cohort study. In 2012, 3106 adolescents aged 11 to 12 were recruited from 25 schools in 4 deprived boroughs of East London. Adolescents were followed-up in 2013 and 2014. The final sample includes 2260 adolescents surveyed at three occasions. We estimated logistic regression models using Generalised Estimating Equations to test the plausibility of hypotheses on the nature of the longitudinal associations (general association, cumulative effect, co-varying trajectories), adjusting for potential confounders. Item non-response was handled using multiple imputation. RESULTS: Longitudinal analyses indicate little evidence that perceptions of the neighbourhood are important predictors of younger adolescent physical activity. There was weak evidence that greater perceived proximity to bus stops is associated with a small decrease in the probability of walking for leisure. Results also indicate that poorer perception of personal safety decreases the probability of walking for leisure. There was some indication that better perception of street connectivity is associated with more outdoor physical activity. Finally, we found very little evidence that the associations between perceptions of the neighbourhood and physical activity differed by gender. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that younger adolescents' perceptions of their neighbourhood environment, and changes in these perceptions, did not consistently predict physical activity in a deprived and ethnically diverse urban population. Future studies should use situation-specific measures of the neighbourhood environment and physical activity to better capture the hypothesised processes and explore the relative roles of the objective environment, parental and adolescents' perceptions in examining differences in types of physical activity.

Type: Article
Title: Longitudinal associations between perceptions of the neighbourhood environment and physical activity in adolescents: evidence from the Olympic Regeneration in East London (ORiEL) study
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-019-8003-7
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-8003-7
Language: English
Additional information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Keywords: Adolescents, East London, Environment, Neighbourhood, Perception, Physical activity, Walking
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Inst of Clinical Trials and Methodology > MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10089463
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