Association between the perceived environment and physical activity among adults in Latin America: a systematic review
1 Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, 660 S. Euclid Ave, St. Louis, Missouri MO 63110, USA
2 Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science, University of West Florida, 11000 University Parkway, 32514, Pensacola, Florida, USA
3 School of Health and Biosciences, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Rua Imaculada Conceição, 1155 - Prado Velho, Curitiba-PR 80215-901, Brazil
4 Department of Physical Education, Federal University of Parana, Rua Coracao de Maria 92 - Jardim Botânico, Curitiba – PR 80210-132, Brazil
5 Division of Public Health Sciences and Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, 660 S. Euclid Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110, USA
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:122 doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-122Published: 31 October 2013
Activity friendly environments have been identified as promising strategies to increase physical activity levels in the population. Associations between perceived environmental attributes and physical activity in Latin America may vary from those observed in high income countries. The objective of this systematic review is to identify which perceived environmental attributes are associated with physical activity in Latin America.
Systematic literature search of articles published in English, Portuguese, and Spanish in four databases was conducted (PubMed, Virtual Health Library, EBSCO, and Web of Science). Associations with environmental attributes were analyzed separately for physical activity domains. Fifteen articles were included in the analysis.
All studies had cross-sectional designs. The majority of associations were statistically non-significant, and only four associations were found in the unexpected direction. Leisure-time and transport-related physical activity were the domains most frequently included in the studies and had higher number of associations in the expected direction. Leisure-time physical activity showed a convincing association in the expected direction with safety during the day. Transport-related physical activity had a convincing association with presence of street lighting.
This study shows that perceived environmental attributes and their relationship with physical activity appears to be domain, and context specific. In addition, findings from this study show inconsistencies with the information gathered from high-income countries.