How can an agent-based model explore the impact of interventions on children’s physical activity in an urban environment?

Almagor, J. , Martin, A. , McCrorie, P. and Mitchell, R. (2021) How can an agent-based model explore the impact of interventions on children’s physical activity in an urban environment? Health and Place, 72, 102688. (doi: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2021.102688) (PMID:34628149) (PMCID:PMC8633766)

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Abstract

Insufficient physical activity (PA) among most children and adolescents is a global problem that is undermining the realisation of numerous developmental and health benefits. The aim of this study was to explore the potential impact of interventions on PA by using an agent-based model (ABM) simulating children's daily activities in an urban environment. Three domains for interventions were explored: outdoor play, school physical education and active travel. Simulated interventions increased children's average daily moderate-to-vigorous PA by 2–13 min and reduced the percentage of children not meeting PA guidelines, from 34% to 10%–29%, depending on the intervention. Promotion of active travel and outdoor play benefited more those in a higher socio-economic position. Agents' interactions suggested that: encouraging activity in diverse groups will reduce percentage of the least active in the population; and initiating outdoor events in neighbourhoods can generate an enhancing effect on children's engagement in PA. The ABM provided measurable outcomes for interventions that are difficult to estimate using reductionist methods. We suggest that ABMs should be used more commonly to explore the complexity of the social-environmental PA system.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin, Dr Anne and Mitchell, Professor Rich and Almagor, Dr Jonatan and Mccrorie, Dr Paul
Authors: Almagor, J., Martin, A., McCrorie, P., and Mitchell, R.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Health and Place
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1353-8292
ISSN (Online):1873-2054
Published Online:08 October 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author(s).
First Published:First published in Health and Place 72:102688
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
727621SPHSU Core Renewal: Neighbourhoods and Communities Research ProgrammeAnne EllawayMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/10IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Places and healthMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/4HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
727661SPHSU Core Renewal: Complexity in Health Improvement Research ProgrammeLaurence MooreMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/14IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU
Complexity in healthMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_00022/1HW - MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU10
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU14
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU16
Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser (CSO)SPHSU19