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Purpose: Evidence on environmental correlates of physical activity (PA) conducted in Western developed countries may not be generalizable to Africa. This study examined the associations between perception of the neighborhood environment and PA and walking in African young adults. Design: Cross-sectional analysis of self-reported survey. Setting: University of Ibadan, in the capital city of Oyo State, Nigeria. Subjects: A representative sample of undergraduates of a Nigerian university, age 16 to 39 years and 50.7% female. Measures: Total walking activity and PA were measured with the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Sixteen perceived neighborhood environmental variables were measured using the Physical Activity Neighborhood Environment Scale (PANES), which was used to assess environmental correlates of PA that are internationally relevant. Outcomes were meeting health-related guidelines for sufficient PA and walking activity. Results: After adjustments for demographics and dormitory site, the proximity of bus/transit stop (odds ratio [OR] = 1.41), traffic as not a problem (OR = .45; unexpected direction), and not many four-way intersections (OR = .72; unexpected direction) were significantly associated with sufficient PA. Low crime rate at night (OR = 1.53), many interesting things to look at (OR = 1.90), and seeing many people active (OR = .59; unexpected direction) were significantly associated with sufficient walking. Inconsistent patterns were also observed in gender-specific analyses. Conclusion: Few neighborhood environment correlates of PA or walking reported in the international literature were replicated with African young adults. Environmental measures need to be developed that are tailored to low- and middle-income countries, such as those in Africa, so that research in understudied regions can advance.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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