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Background: Associations between the built environment and physical activity (PA) may vary by sociodemographic factors. However, such evidence from international studies is limited. This study tested the moderating effects of sociodemographic factors on associations between perceived environment and self-reported total PA among adults from the International Prevalence Study. Methods: Between 2002 and 2003, adults from 9 countries (N = 10,258) completed surveys assessing total PA (International Physical Activity Questionnaire-short), perceived environment, and sociodemographics (age, gender, and education). Total PA was dichotomized as meeting/not meeting (a) high PA levels and (b) minimum PA guidelines. Logistic models tested environment by sociodemographic interactions (24 total). Results: Education and gender moderated the associationbetween safety from crime and meeting high PA levels (interaction P < .05), with inverse associations found only among the high education group and men. Education and gender also moderated associations of safety from crime and the presence of transit stops with meeting minimum PA guidelines (interaction P < .05), with positive associations found for safety from crime only among women and presence of transit stops only among men and the high education group. Conclusions: The limited number of moderating effects found provides support for population-wide environment-PA associations. International efforts to improve built environments are needed to promote health-enhancing PA and maintain environmental sustainability.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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