A cross-sectional study examining predictors of visit frequency to local green space and the impact this has on physical activity levels

Flowers, Elliott, P., Freeman, Paul and Gladwell, Valerie (2016) A cross-sectional study examining predictors of visit frequency to local green space and the impact this has on physical activity levels. BMC Public Health, 16 (420). ISSN 1471-2458

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Abstract

Background: Lack of physical activity (PA) is a growing public health concern. There is a growing body of literature that suggests a positive relationship may exist between the amount of local green space near one's home and PA levels. For instance, park proximity has been shown to predict PA levels amongst certain populations. However, there is little evidence for the role of relatedness towards nature and perceptions of local green space on this relationship. The aim of this study was to examine, in a National UK sample, whether subjective indices associated with local green space were better predictors of visit frequency to local green space and PA levels compared to objectively measured quantity of local green space.

Methods: A cross-sectional survey was designed. From a random sample, 2079 working age adults responded to an online survey in September 2011. Demographics, self-reported PA, objective measures of the local environment (including local green space, road coverage, and environmental deprivation), were assessed in conjunction with perceptions of local green space and nature relatedness. Quantity of local green space was assessed by cross-referencing respondents' home postcodes with general land use databases. Regression models were conducted to assess which of our independent variables best predicted visit frequency to local green space and/or meeting PA guidelines. In addition, an ordinal regression was run to examine the relationship between visit frequency to local green space and the likelihood of meeting national PA guidelines.

Results: Nature relatedness was the strongest predictor for both visit frequency to local green space and meeting PA guidelines. Results show that perceived quality is a better predictor of visit frequency to local green space than objective quantity of local green space. The odds of achieving the recommended amount of PA was over four times greater for people who visited local green space once per week compared to never going (OR 4.151; 95 % CI, 2.40 to 7.17).

Conclusions: These results suggest that perceptions of local green space and nature relatedness play an important role in the relationship between local green space and PA. Considering the known health benefits of PA, our results are potentially important for public health interventions, policy making and environmental planning.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: green exercise, local green space, nature relatedness, perceptions, physical activity
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
Divisions: Faculty of Health & Science > Department of Health Studies
Depositing User: David Upson-Dale
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2021 15:10
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2021 15:10
URI: http://oars.uos.ac.uk/id/eprint/2069

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