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Availability of Commercial Physical Activity Facilities and Physical Activity Outside of School among High School Students

Isgor Z and Powell LM. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 8(5): 707-715, 2011.

Background: Environmental factors may play an important role in the determination of physical activity behaviors.

Methods: This study used the Child Development Supplement of the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to examine the association between the availability of objectively measured commercial physical activity-related instruction facilities and weekly physical activity participation among high school students outside of school physical education classes. A Negative Binomial count model was used to examine the number of days of vigorous physical activity (at least 30 minutes/day) per week and a Probit model was used to examine the probability of frequent (4 or more days/week) vigorous physical activity participation.

Results: The results indicated that an additional instruction school per 10,000 capita per 10 square miles was associated with an 8-percent increase in the weekly number of days of vigorous physical activity participation and a 4 percentage point increase in the likelihood of frequent physical activity participation for female adolescents only. By income, associations were larger for low- versus high-income female youths.

Conclusion: Increased availability of local area physical activity-related instruction facilities may help to increase female high school students' physical activity levels, particularly among low-income female students.

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