Availability of and access to physical activity opportunities and links with health behaviours and obesity among adults

Lead Research Organisation: University of Glasgow

Abstract

Health experts are increasingly concerned about the rising number of people who are obese or overweight. Being obese damages health, it can lead to diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and a number of other health problems. One of the factors that can lead to being obese is not taking enough exercise. Researchers think that the type of environment people live in might make a difference. For example, some areas might not have enough recreation facilities such as swimming pools, sports centres or parks where people could go for a walk or jog. Also, it might be more difficult for some people to travel to facilities if they don?t have a car or there isn?t any public transport that goes there. Although experts think that these things might be important, there isn?t any research that has looked at this question across the country in urban and rural areas. So a team of researchers is going to bring together the information that has been collected in other studies and use this in a new way to help answer this question. The researchers will map the locations of recreation facilities across all mainland Scotland, and look to see how easy it is to get there and how much it costs by different forms of transport. They will then go on to look at whether living close to facilities or how easy it is to get to them, makes a difference to how much exercise people take or how likely there are to be obese. The researchers will also examine whether the availability of recreation and transport facilities matters more for the physical activity and obesity levels of some people than others e.g. women or men, the elderly, people on low incomes or people living in rural areas.The results of this study will help government planners and policy makers responsible for health, recreation and transport to plan their services more effectively and fairly.

Technical Summary

Obesity levels are rising with a simultaneous decline in physical activity. Efforts to increase physical activity levels which focus upon changing individuals? behaviour have had limited success. Increasing attention has therefore been directed towards the potential of the local environment (e.g. the availability of physical activity amenities and resources) to influence physical activity levels and obesity. However, the precise mechanisms through which the UK environment can impact upon physical activity levels and obesity are not well understood. One potential contributory factor is the extent to which the availability of and access to facilities for physical activity is distributed equitably across different neighbourhoods. Most studies to date have been conducted in the USA or Australia, limiting their applicability to the UK. In this proposed study, we intend to examine firstly, the extent to which there is equitable distribution of the availability and access (by different modes of transport) to physical activity opportunities; secondly, to examine if the distribution of opportunity is associated with physical activity levels; and thirdly, to determine if this, in turn, is associated with obesity. We propose to examine these questions in relation to the Scottish population, with a particular focus on adults and fixed PA facilities such as sports centres, swimming pools and green space. Knowledge of the extent to which access and use of physical activity facilities and associations with obesity is socially patterned is important for informing the direction and focus of public health and planning policy.
 
Description expert panel
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in advisory committee
 
Description Availability of and access to physical activity opportunities and links with health behaviours and obesity among adults
Amount £96,870 (GBP)
Organisation Medical Research Council (MRC) 
Department National Prevention Research Initiative (NPRI)
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2009 
End 03/2011
 
Description EDTC Feasibility Award
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Enterprise 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2009 
 
Description EDTC Feasibility Award (AE)
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Enterprise 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2009 
End 03/2010
 
Description EDTC Feasibility Award (AE)
Amount £5,000 (GBP)
Organisation Scottish Enterprise 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2009 
End 12/2010
 
Description Festival Of Social Science - Neighbourhoods and health: The east end of Glasgow.
Amount £500 (GBP)
Organisation Global Stem Cell & Regenerative Medicine Acceleration Centre (GSRAC) 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Korea, Republic of
Start 09/2016 
End 11/2016
 
Title data on transport networks 
Description We have developed a GIS-based public transport model for Scotland which incorporates Ordnance Survey Integrated Transport Network (ITN) map data and Department for Transport public transport schedules. The model represents typical weekday, Saturday and Sunday operations (12914 routes with multiple scheduled services on each route). 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact A major thrust of the work of our project over the last year has been to generate the transport accessibility measures- approximately 12,000 journeys have been calculated across Scotland. 
 
Title database on PA facilities and categories 
Description developed and maintain dataset on facilities for physical activity across Scotland, including novel ways to categorise faciliies 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of Data/Biological Samples 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact informing peer reviewed papers 
 
Title data on transport networks 
Description We have developed a GIS-based public transport model for Scotland which incorporates Ordnance Survey Integrated Transport Network (ITN) map data and Department for Transport public transport schedules. The model represents typical weekday, Saturday and Sunday operations (12914 routes with multiple scheduled services on each route). 
Type Of Material Computer model/algorithm 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact A major thrust of the work of our project over the last year has been to generate the transport accessibility measures- approximately 12,000 journeys have been calculated across Scotland. 
 
Title database on PA facilities and categories 
Description developed and maintain dataset on facilities for physical activity across Scotland, including novel ways to categorise faciliies 
Type Of Material Database/Collection of data 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact informing peer reviewed papers 
 
Description CEDAR 
Organisation UK Clinical Research Collaboration
Department Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution training of staff in stat techniques
Collaborator Contribution in kind contributions of input into study and publications. also hosted post doc researcher for study visit
Impact joint paper, multidisciplinary
Start Year 2010
 
Description Deakin University, Australia 
Organisation Deakin University
Department School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences Deakin
Country Australia 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution formulated research question, developed measures of built environment, data manipulation
Collaborator Contribution helped to progress paper
Impact submitted paper, we hosted visiting professor, post doctoral researcher on our team visited Deaking University
Start Year 2010
 
Description UCL Transport group 
Organisation University College London
Department Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution input into expert group
Collaborator Contribution funding application for researcher to conduct study on London car clubs
Impact funding for study. multi-disciplinary involving transport researchers, government transport policy officers, physical activity experts, social scientists.
Start Year 2010
 
Title method for extracting transport network data 
Description We have developed a GIS-based public transport model for Scotland which incorporates Ordnance Survey Integrated Transport Network (ITN) map data and Department for Transport public transport schedules. 
IP Reference  
Protection Protection not required
Year Protection Granted
Licensed No
Impact use models for other research
 
Description 2010 Young Statisticians meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 20 + early career reseachers- questions and discussion

new contacts made

dissemiantion of NPRI research project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description 2011 Annual Meeting of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 30 people attended, general discussion of results and implications of research
Lamb K, Ogilvie D, Ferguson N, Ellaway A. Recreational facilities within walking or cycling distance: sociospatial patterning of access in Scotland. UK Society for Behavioural Medicine 7th Annual Scientific Meeting, Stirling, December 2011.

led to further collaboration
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Australia visit to Deakin University 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 40 individuals attended a workshop- mixture of academics and policymakers

increased awareness of research
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011
 
Description Bright SPARCS 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 50+ attended
questions and discussion

raised profile of NPRI project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description HEPA conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Health professionals
Results and Impact presented outline of project

increased awareness of project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2008
 
Description MRC National Career Development Fellow Research day 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact opportunity to present and discuss NPRI research project with others CDFs


interact with peers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description SSM 2010 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Type Of Presentation Poster Presentation
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact opportunity to discuss NPRI project - questions and discussion from other researchers

raised profile of NPRI project
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2010
 
Description presentation at transport meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/parliamentarians
Results and Impact poster presentation at workshop

increased awareness among policy makers
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2009
 
Description talka t NPRI conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? Yes
Type Of Presentation Paper Presentation
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Other academic audiences (collaborators, peers etc.)
Results and Impact 40 people attended, discussion and questions afterwards

new contacts made
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2011