Association of Environmental Factors to Meeting Physical Activity Recommendations in Two South Carolina Counties

Patricia A. Sharpe, Michelle L. Granner, Brent Hutto, Barbara E. Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


Purpose. The purpose of the study was to examine associations between environment and policy factors and physical activity. Design. A random-digit-dialed, cross-sectional telephone survey was administered. Setting. The setting was a two-county area of eastern South Carolina. Subjects. Before weighting, the sample included 1936 adults; 36.9% African-American, 63.1% white, and 60.1% women. The age group distribution was 28.8% 55+ years, 39.3% 35-54 years, and 31.9% 18-34 years of age. The response rate was 62.9%. Measures. Six physical activity questions (2001 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey [BRFSS]) were used to create a dichotomous variable, "meets/does not meet recommendation for moderate or vigorous physical activity." Self-report items assessed knowledge, presence, and use of recreational facilities; presence of environmental and worksite supports; perceived safety; condition of sidewalks; and quality of street lighting Results. Linear and logistic regression were used to analyze the data. Unadjusted odds for meeting the recommendation were significantly greater for well-maintained sidewalks (OR = 1.90); safe areas for walking/jogging (OR = 1.39); knowledge of routes for bicycling (OR = 1.38) and walking/jogging (OR = 1.32); and worksites with sports teams (OR = 1.53), exercise facilities (OR = 1.33), flexible time for exercise (OR = 1.33), and preventive checkups (OR = 1.26). Among persons who met the recommendation, means were greater for number of known walking/jogging routes (p = .04); number of known bicycling routes (p < .01); number of days per month uses tracks, trails, routes, pathways (p < .01); and number of days per month uses outdoor recreation areas (p < .01). Conclusion. The results support an association between level of physical activity and environmental and policy factors in two southeastern counties in South Carolina. Limitations of the study include self-reported data and cross-sectional design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-257
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Health Promotion
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Environment
  • Health Promotion
  • Physical Activity
  • Policy
  • Prevention Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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