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Environment and Physical Activity Dynamics: The Role of Residential Self-Selection

Citation

Boone-Heinonen, Janne; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; Guilkey, David K.; Jacobs, David R., Jr.; & Popkin, Barry M. (2011). Environment and Physical Activity Dynamics: The Role of Residential Self-Selection. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 12(1), 54-60. PMCID: PMC3079234

Abstract

Objectives: Within the socio-ecologic framework, diet and physical activity are influenced by individual, inter-personal, organizational, community, and public policy factors. A basic principle underlying this framework is that environments can influence an individual’s behavior. However, in the vast majority of cross-sectional and even the few longitudinal studies of this relationship, the question of whether individuals select their area of residence based on physical activity-related amenities is ignored. In this paper, we address a critical methodological issue: self-selection of residential location, which is generally not accounted for, and can significantly compromise research on the relationship between environmental factors and physical activity behaviors.
Method: We define and discuss the problem of residential self-selection in the study of neighborhood influences on health and health behavior, review methods used to control for residential self-selection in the literature, and present our strategy for addressing this potentially important source of bias.
Conclusion: Existing research has built our understanding of residential self-selection bias, but important gaps remain. Our strategy uses data from a longitudinal cohort study linked to contemporaneous environmental measures to create a multi-equation model system to simultaneously estimate residential choice, environmental influences on physical activity, and downstream health outcomes such as obesity and clinical cardiovascular disease risk factor measures.

URL

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2009.09.003

Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published

2011

Journal Title

Psychology of Sport and Exercise

Author(s)

Boone-Heinonen, Janne
Gordon-Larsen, Penny
Guilkey, David K.
Jacobs, David R., Jr.
Popkin, Barry M.

PMCID

PMC3079234