Environmental correlates of physical activity in youth - A review and update
Obesity Reviews , Volume 8 - Issue 2 p. 129- 154
Obesogenic environments are thought to underlie the increased obesity prevalence observed in youth during the past decades. Understanding the environmental factors that are associated with physical activity (PA) in youth is needed to better inform the development of effective intervention strategies attempting to halt the obesity epidemic. We conducted a systematic semi-quantitative review of 150 studies on environmental correlates of youth PA published in the past 25 years. The ANalysis Grid for Environments Linked to Obesity (ANGELO) framework was used to classify the environmental correlates studied. Most studies retrieved used cross-sectional designs and subjective measures of environmental factors and PA. Variables of the home and school environments were especially associated with children's PA. Most consistent positive correlates of PA were father's PA, time spent outdoors and school PA-related policies (in children), and support from significant others, mother's education level, family income, and non-vocational school attendance (in adolescents). Low crime incidence (in adolescents) was characteristic of the neighbourhood environment associated with higher PA. Convincing evidence of an important role for many other environmental factors was, however, not found. Further research should aim at longitudinal and intervention studies, and use more objective measures of PA and its potential (environmental) determinants.