Open Access Short paper

The perception of the neighborhood environment changes after participation in a pedometer based community intervention

Birgit Wallmann12*, Heleen Spittaels3, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij3 and Ingo Froboese12

Author Affiliations

1 Centre of Health, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany

2 Institute of health promotion and clinical movement science, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany

3 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2012, 9:33  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-33

Published: 27 March 2012

Abstract

Background

The aim of this study was to investigate whether the perception of the neighbourhood environment alters when changing the physical activity behaviour through a pedometer intervention.

Findings

The intervention was implemented for 15 weeks in a small village in Germany, and was based on the individual baseline activity level. Eighty-two inhabitants participated in the study and completed an environmental questionnaire before and after the intervention. Results showed that after the intervention the participants perceived a lower distance to local facilities, a higher availability of bike lanes and infrastructures, a better maintenance of infrastructure, a better network and a safer traffic situation.

Conclusion

This suggests that a change in the levels of physical activity merges the levels of exposure to the environment which results in different environmental perceptions.

Keywords:
Physical activity; 3000 steps more per day; Health behaviour; Environmental questionnaire