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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

WashU: Finding Features that Support Exercise in Workplace Neighborhoods

Neighborhood features such as bike facilities and low crime rates are associated with increased leisure and workplace-related physical activity, according to a new study from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

[Photo:  Dr. Aaron Hipp

Researchers conducted telephone interviews with 2,015 adults in four metropolitan areas of Missouri in 2012-13. Those interviewed were asked about what would encourage them to engage in physical activity near their homes and workplaces.

They found that seven of 12 built environment features, such as “interesting things to look at” were associated with leisure physical activity.  Associations between workplace neighborhoods’ features and physical activity were fewer but also supported physical activity.

“Findings suggest that diverse, attractive, and walkable neighborhoods around workplaces support walking, bicycling and use of public transit,” wrote co-authors Dr. Aaron Hipp, assistant professor at the Brown School, and Ms. Deepti Adlakha at the Brown School.

Exercise rates among urban residents of the U.S. are declining;fewer than 50 percent of adults and 40 percent of youth meet U.S. guidelines for physical activity.  The Brown School study was among the first to examine associations between home and workplace built environments and physical activity.

The study was published online November 6 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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