Open Access Research

Sociospatial distribution of access to facilities for moderate and vigorous intensity physical activity in Scotland by different modes of transport

Karen E Lamb1*, David Ogilvie2, Neil S Ferguson3, Jonathan Murray1, Yang Wang3 and Anne Ellaway1

Author Affiliations

1 Medical Research Council Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, 4 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow, G12 8RZ, Scotland, UK

2 Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit and UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), Box 296, Institute of Public Health, Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge, CB2 0SR, UK

3 Department of Civil Engineering, University of Strathclyde, John Anderson Building, 107 Rottenrow, Glasgow, G4 0NG, Scotland, UK

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2012, 9:55  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-9-55

Published: 8 May 2012

Abstract

Background

People living in neighbourhoods of lower socioeconomic status have been shown to have higher rates of obesity and a lower likelihood of meeting physical activity recommendations than their more affluent counterparts. This study examines the sociospatial distribution of access to facilities for moderate or vigorous intensity physical activity in Scotland and whether such access differs by the mode of transport available and by Urban Rural Classification.

Methods

A database of all fixed physical activity facilities was obtained from the national agency for sport in Scotland. Facilities were categorised into light, moderate and vigorous intensity activity groupings before being mapped. Transport networks were created to assess the number of each type of facility accessible from the population weighted centroid of each small area in Scotland on foot, by bicycle, by car and by bus. Multilevel modelling was used to investigate the distribution of the number of accessible facilities by small area deprivation within urban, small town and rural areas separately, adjusting for population size and local authority.

Results

Prior to adjustment for Urban Rural Classification and local authority, the median number of accessible facilities for moderate or vigorous intensity activity increased with increasing deprivation from the most affluent or second most affluent quintile to the most deprived for all modes of transport. However, after adjustment, the modelling results suggest that those in more affluent areas have significantly higher access to moderate and vigorous intensity facilities by car than those living in more deprived areas.

Conclusions

The sociospatial distributions of access to facilities for both moderate intensity and vigorous intensity physical activity were similar. However, the results suggest that those living in the most affluent neighbourhoods have poorer access to facilities of either type that can be reached on foot, by bicycle or by bus than those living in less affluent areas. This poorer access from the most affluent areas appears to be reversed for those with access to a car.

Keywords:
Deprivation; Accessibility; Intensity; Recreational physical activity; Transport