The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children

This article discusses how the built environment of a community affects children’s opportunities for physical activity.

  • Walking to school is identified as the most universal opportunity for incidental physical activity, which are activities for which exercise is not the primary goal
  • The TAAG study, as noted in this policy report, provided evidence that every mile that a girl lived farther from school translated to significantly fewer minutes of metabolic activity per week
  • The policy report identifies 3 recommendations for pediatricians; ask patients about incidental physical activity opportunities in their community, ask patients to advocate for environmental improvements that will allow their children to walk to school, and advocate for opportunities that will increase physical activity for children
  • The policy report identifies 5 recommendations for government; pass and promote laws that promote active living, create and maintain green spaces, promote legislation and fund programs that create active commuting opportunities, fund research on the built environment and physical activity, and serve as a model for the community by siting buildings in locations that promote activity living.

Tester, June M. and the Committee on Environmental Health. “The Built Environment: Designing Communities to Promote Physical Activity in Children.” Pediatrics. 123.6 (2009) 1591-1598.

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