Perceptions of the built environment and support for policies that promote physical activity

Jeanette Gustat, Christopher E. Anderson, Keelia O’Malley, Tian Hu, Rachel G. Tabak, Karin Valentine Goins, Cheryl Valko, Jill S. Litt, Amy A. Eyler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: To assess how perceptions of the community built environment influence support for community policies that promote physical activity (PA). Methods: A national cross-sectional survey assessed perceptions of the local built environment and support of community policies, including school and workplace policies, promoting PA. A random digit–dialed telephone survey was conducted in US counties selected on Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data for high or low prevalence of obesity and inactivity. A total of 1208 subjects were interviewed, 642 from high-prevalence counties and 566 from low-prevalence counties. Analyses were stratified by county prevalence of obesity and inactivity (high or low). Linear models adjusted for covariates were constructed to assess the influence of built environment perceptions on policy support. Results: Perception of more destinations near the residence was associated with increased support for community policies that promote PA, including tax increases in low-prevalence (obesity and inactivity) counties (P < .01). Positive perception of the workplace environment was associated (P < .001) with increased support for workplace policies among those in high-, but not low-, prevalence counties. Conclusions: Support for community policies promoting PA varies by perception of the built environment, which has implications for policy change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)976-984
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Cooperative Agreement (nos. U48DP005050, U48DP001903, U48DP00531) from the CDC, Prevention Research Centers Program; Special Interest Projects 10-09, 09-09; and the Physical Activity Policy Research Network. The findings and conclusions of this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Human Kinetics, Inc.

Copyright 2019 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Health
  • Obesity
  • Policy
  • Survey research


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