Will moving into East Village housing increase household physical activity levels? Evaluation of a natural experiment

Ram, B. et al. (2015) Will moving into East Village housing increase household physical activity levels? Evaluation of a natural experiment. Journal of Transport and Health, 2(2), S11. (doi: 10.1016/j.jth.2015.04.500)

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Background: Although the built environment may be an important influence on physical activity (PA), formal evidence is weak. The 2012 London Olympic Games Athletes’ Village (renamed East Village) is being used to provide a combination of affordable (social, intermediate) and market-rent accommodation. It offers a unique opportunity to assess the health impact of moving to a built environment designed to encourage active living. Methods: A two-year controlled longitudinal study of 1200 households (including at least one adult) is being carried out to establish whether PA levels in households relocating to East Village show a sustained increase when compared to households living outside East Village. Those applying to live in East Village are being recruited on application. Participants are having assessments of objectively measured PA (using Actigraph monitors), and body composition in their current place of residence and will be reassessed two-years later, either in East Village (intervention group) or in their original place of residence (control group). GPS receivers are being worn to map patterns of use of the local environment (including indoor and outdoor activity). In addition, accurate GIS mapping is being used to establish whether health promoting environmental resources influence levels of active transport, including walking and cycling. Multilevel models will examine differences in PA change between intervention and control groups, adjusting for individual and household level factors, and other sociodemographic confounding factors collected using electronic questionnaires. Results: We are examining whether differences in PA amongst intervention and control groups relate to use of the local environment, and if so, which environmental components. With a 70% follow-up rate the study is powered to detect a 5% increase in the number of daily steps (and other activity/adiposity outcomes); this represents the lower limit of a potentially worthwhile increase in physical activity. To date, 1225 participants (from 833 households), have been recruited; 712 from social households, 486 and 27 from those seeking intermediate and market-rent accommodation. At least 4 days (>540 min) of PA data have been collected from 69%, 85%, and 85% respectively. Sub-group analysis shows three-quarters of Actigraph data matches GPS data. Baseline recruitment will be complete by Autumn-2015. Conclusions: This study offers an important opportunity for a natural experiment. This study seeks to identify factors that encourage active use of the local environment. While the opportunity is unique, the results may be generalisable to other urban building projects and should inform future evidence-based urban planning.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellaway, Dr Anne
Authors: Ram, B., Cooper, A., Giles-Corti, B., Kapetanakis, V., Cook, D., Whincup, P., Owen, C., Ellaway, A., Page, A., Lewis, D., Cummins, S., and Rudnicka, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:Journal of Transport and Health
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.

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