The Built Environment Factors and Elements

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Physical inactivity is an important international public health issue as the population is becoming increasingly sedentary. Physical activity is any bodily movement that is produced by the skeletal muscles and requires energy expenditure. It is important in everyday life as it is essential for growth and development. Physical activity produces progressive health benefits since avoiding a sedentary life will decrease the chances of obesity and sedentary death syndrome. Furthermore, daily physical activity will lead one to become physically fit which will allow them the freedom to do everyday tasks without a problem. However, not everyone can be physically active as some populations encounter barriers that prevent them from being active. Recent studies have found links between the built environment and physical inactivity. The built environment includes urban design, land-use, the transportation system, and the relatively close activities available to a neighbourhood (Booth et al., 2005). These elements of the built environment can shape peoples opportunity to be physically active. In Belgium, between 2002 and 2003, 43.1% of the 357 Belgians surveyed did not meet guidelines for physical activity. Slightly better in Canada, 14.9% of the 619 Canadians surveyed did not meet guidelines for physical activity (Sallis et al., 2009). Both of the examples above were due to barriers caused by the built environment. On the more extreme, a European survey indicated that two thirds of the adult European population is not sufficiently active due to the built environment (Sjöström et al., 2006). As you can see, the built environment is a barrier that restricts a population’s ability to be physically active. The built environment is a broad topic b... ... middle of paper ..., J. (2004). Violent crime and outdoor physical activity among inner-city youth. Preventive Medicine, 39(5), 876. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.03.019 Sallis, J., Bowles, H., Bauman, A., Ainsworth, B., Bull, F., Craig, C. (2009). Neighborhood environments and physical activity among adults in 11 countries. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 36(6), 484. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2009.01.031 Sjöström, M., Oja, P., Hagströmer, M., Smith, J., & Bauman, A. (2006). Health-enhancing physical activity across european union countries: The eurobarometer study. Journal, 14(5), 291. doi:10.1007/s10389-006-0031-y Titze, S., Stronegger, W., Janschitz, S., & Oja, P. (2008). Association of built-environment, social-environment and personal factors with bicycling as a mode of transportation among austrian city dwellers. Preventive Medicine, 47(3), 252. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.02.019
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