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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/2764

Title: The importance of the social environment for physically active lifestyle - results from an international study
Authors: Stahl, T.
Rutten, A.
Nutbeam, D.
Bauman, A.
Kannas, L.
Abel, T.
Luschen, G.
Rodriguez, DJA
van der Zee, J.
Issue Date: 2001
Citation: SOCIAL SCIENCE & MEDICINE, 52(1). p. 1-10
Abstract: Physically active lifestyles are regularly associated with improved health and quality of life. Differences in lifestyles in society can partly be understood through the differences in the social and physical environment. This study examines the relationships between reported physical activity, and the extent of perceived support for physical activity in the physical and policy environment (e.g. facilities, programmes and other opportunities), and in the social environment. The data for the study come from a cross-cultural health policy study called MAREPS, In total 3342 adults, 18 years or older, from six countries (Belgium, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland) were interviewed via telephone. Respondents were categorised as active or inactive according to self-reported physical activity. Social environmental factors and physical and policy environmental factors were also assessed. The analysis of the data was informed by social cognitive theory, although the study was not originally designed for this purpose. Sixty-eight percent of females and 70% of males were active. The proportions of active and inactive varied by countries to a great extent. The strongest independent predictor of being physically active was social environment. Those who perceived low social support from their personal environment (i.e. family, friends, school and workplace) were more than twice as likely to be sedentary compared to those who reported high social support from their personal environment. Specific knowledge of the programmes and actions for physical activity and sport was also a strong predictor of being active. A supportive physical and policy environment was not associated with participation in physical activity as strongly as had been anticipated. The variation between countries was stronger predictor of being active than the physical and policy environment variables, This study generates the hypotheses and raises the questions that in a preliminary way, there appears to be some relationships between aspects of physical and social environment and physical activity participation. However, future research is needed to refine and clarify this. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
Notes: Univ Jyvaskyla, Dept Hlth Sci, SF-40351 Jyvaskyla, Finland. Tech Univ Chemnitz, Fac Philosophy, D-09107 Chemnitz, Germany. Univ Sydney, Dept Publ Hlth & Community Med, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Univ New S Wales, Epidemiol Unit, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Univ Bern, Dept Hlth Res, ISPM, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland. Univ Alabama, Dept Sociol, Birmingham, AL 35294 USA. Univ Barcelona, Dept Sociol, ESP-08034 Barcelona, Spain. Limburgs Univ Ctr, Dept Human & Social Sci, B-3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium. Netherlands Inst Primary Hlth Care, NL-3500 BN Utrecht, Netherlands.Stahl, T, Univ Jyvaskyla, Dept Hlth Sci, POB 40351, SF-40351 Jyvaskyla, Finland.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1942/2764
DOI: 10.1016/S0277-9536(00)00116-7
ISI #: 000165917900001
ISSN: 0277-9536
Category: A1
Type: Journal Contribution
Validation: ecoom, 2002
Appears in Collections: Research publications

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