Skip to main content


Jilcott Pitts, Stephanie B.; Evenson, Kelly R.; Laraia, Barbara A.; & Ammerman, Alice S. (2007). Association between Physical Activity and Proximity to Physical Activity Resources among Low-Income, Midlife Women. Preventing Chronic Disease, 4(1), 1-16. PMCID: PMC1832127


INTRODUCTION: The association between levels of physical activity and perceived and objectively measured proximity to physical activity resources is unclear. Clarification is important so that future programs can intervene upon the measure with the greatest association. We examined correlations between perceived and objectively measured proximity to physical activity resources and then examined associations between both measures of proximity and objectively measured physical activity.
METHODS: Participants (n = 199) were underinsured women from three counties in southeastern North Carolina. Perceived proximity to physical activity resources (e.g., parks, gyms, schools) was measured using surveys. Objectively measured proximity included geographic information systems road network distance to the closest resource and existence of resources within 1- and 2-mile buffers surrounding participants' homes. To examine the association between proximity to resources and activity, the dependent variable in multiple linear regression models was the natural logarithm of accelerometer-measured moderate to vigorous physical activity in minutes per day.
RESULTS: Pearson correlation coefficients for perceptions of distance and objectively measured distance to physical activity resources ranged from 0.40 (gyms, schools) to 0.54 (parks). Perceived distance to gyms and objective number of schools within 1-mile buffers were negatively associated with activity. No statistically significant relationships were found between activity and perceived or objectively measured proximity to parks.
CONCLUSION: Results indicate the need for both individual and environmental intervention strategies to increase levels of physical activity among underinsured, midlife women. More work is needed to determine the most effective strategies.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Preventing Chronic Disease


Jilcott Pitts, Stephanie B.
Evenson, Kelly R.
Laraia, Barbara A.
Ammerman, Alice S.