Minority Health Archive

Angels in the details: Comment on “The relationship between destination proximity, destination mix and physical activity behaviors”

Sallis, James F. (2008) Angels in the details: Comment on “The relationship between destination proximity, destination mix and physical activity behaviors”. Preventive Medicine, 46 (1). pp. 6-7.

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The connection between the built environment and physical activity is well accepted. Systematic reviews by the Transportation Research Board and Institute ofMedicine (2005) and CDC's Task Force on Community Preventive Services (Heath et al., 2006) have established this general finding. However, designers, planners, builders, and government officials need specific guidelines if they are to use research findings to change their practices. An important next step in research is to identify the specific modifiable aspects of the built environment that are most strongly related to physical activity. It is often said the devils are in the details, but in this casewe are likely to find angelic details that will help us improve the health of the population. This paper by McCormack et al. (2008) provides data that people who design and build communities may be able to put into practice. This paper advances the field in at least three important directions. First, this study helps us understand how close destinations need to be to stimulate physical activity. Proximity to destinations is a defining element of walkable communities, the latter being a pattern of land use that supports walking to nearby destinations. If there are no destinations within a reasonable walking distance, then the built environment eliminates the possibility of walking for transportation. The question is, what is a walkable distance? The consensus in the urban planning field is that people will only walk about a quarter of a mile (400 m or 5 min) to a destination, as explained by the authors.

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Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Access to full text is subject to the publisher's access restrictions.
Uncontrolled Keywords: built environment; physical activity; health; Proximity to destinations; walkable communities; walking for transportation; walkable distance
Subjects: Health
Health > Public Health
Related URLs:
    Depositing User: Users 141 not found.
    Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2008
    Last Modified: 05 May 2011 10:38
    Link to this item (URI): http://health-equity.lib.umd.edu/id/eprint/907

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