Literature Review – Environmental Change

Initiative Description: Thirty-three quantitative studies that assessed associations between the physical environment (perceived or objectively measured) and physical activity among children (ages 3 to 18-years) and fulfilled selection criteria were reviewed. Best practices in the studies included ensuring that Playground markings (painted lines and boxes), public infrastructure (recreational facilities and schools), and transport infrastructure (sidewalks and controlled intersections, access to destinations, and public transportation) were available.

Study Results: Results across the various studies showed that children’s participation in PA is positively associated with publicly provided recreational infrastructure (access to recreational facilities and schools) and transport infrastructure (presence of sidewalks and controlled intersections, access to destinations and public transportation). At the same time, transport infrastructure (number of roads to cross and traffic density/speed) and local conditions (crime, are deprivation) are negatively associated with children’s participation in PA.

Reference: Davison, K. K., & Lawson, C. T. (2006). Do attributes in the physical environment influence children’s physical activity? A review of the literature. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition & Physical Activity, 319-17. doi:10.1186/1479-5868-3-19

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good