Publication Date



Background Considering that building a sports facility is a major investment to promote population health, it is important to understand whether it is effective in increasing the level of physical activity (PA) in the community. This study examined the impact of building a new multipurpose exercise facility on community-level PA in Japan. Methods This non-randomised panel study compared two sites: an intervention site where a new exercise facility was built (opened after baseline data collection) and a control site where there was no such additional exercise facility. From each site, 3200 adult residents (aged 30–74 years) were randomly selected at baseline (2013) and at follow-up (2015). The number of participants retained for analysis was 845 at baseline and 924 at follow-up for the intervention site, and 821 at baseline and 1018 at follow-up for the control site. The outcomes were participants’ self-reported PA, perceived availability of PA facilities, awareness of others being active, and willingness to engage in PA. We examined the interaction terms between the sites and time of measurement in regression analyses to examine whether the magnitude of change from baseline to follow-up differed between the two sites. Results The changes in the proportion of participants meeting the PA guideline and those engaging in moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA were not significantly different between the intervention and control sites. The intervention site had a greater increase in the proportion of participants who were aware of PA facilities from baseline to follow-up than in the control site. The odds ratio for awareness of others being active approached significance, suggesting that there was a tendency at the intervention site towards a greater increase in the proportion of participants who noticed physically active people. Conclusions This study did not find community-level increases in PA after the construction of the exercise facility. However, a significant improvement in the awareness of PA facilities was observed in the intervention site. A sustained community-level effort to promote PA, possibly including social components, and a further tracking of residents’ PA are needed to take a full advantage of the new exercise facility and to assess its long-term impact. Trial registration UMIN-CTR UMIN000034116 (retrospectively registered: 13 September 2018).


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

Access Rights

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.