Journal regarding physical activity domains in different municipalities. The

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journal Review Article 1

Grace E. Mullin

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Indiana University-Purdue University
Indianapolis

Summary

A study conducted in Utah by Librett, Yore, and
Schmid (2003) focused policies regarding physical activity domains in different
municipalities. The goal of their study, “Local ordinances that promote
physical activity: A survey of municipal policies” (Librett, Yore, &
Schmid, 2003), was to identify “physical activity policies, identify municipal
ordinances that may influence physical activity, and determine local
governments’ intentions to implement policies” (Librett et al., 2003). Librett
et al. (2003) measured “6 physical activity domains: sidewalks, bicycle lanes,
shared-use paths, work sites, greenways, and recreational facilities”. Analyzing
the relationship between public policies and physical activity is relatively
new, but important for data collection and new evidence regarding population
health in a city.

Cities with plentiful access to public
transportation and facilities, and strategic urban planning are called “active
community environments” (Librett et al., 2003), or ACEs. Librett et al. (2003)
researched ACE policies in Utah. Their goal was to figure out who plans ACEs,
what kind of policies there are on ACEs, and if municipalities plan to apply
them (Librett et al., 2003). Data on city ordinances was collected regarding
the physical activity domains through local Utah governments. Surveys were
distributed to government officials as well. There were 236 cities in this
study, just under the total number of municipalities in the state of Utah.  Then, cities were divided into three
categories based on projected population growth. City planners, zoning
administrators, city managers and administrators, city recorders, and parks and
recreation managers (Librett et al., 2003) made up the respondents in this
study. Based on what these respondents reported, Librett et al. (2003) found
that cities with the highest populations were more likely to have ordinances in
place than cities with fewer people. In contrast, slow growing cities with a
lower population had more plans to create ordinances for “bike lanes, shared-use
paths, greenways, and recreational facilities within the next year” (Librett et al., 2003).

The purpose of this study was to see how populations
and urban planning could impact community health. In areas with a larger
population, there’s a larger chance things like bike paths and greenways are
more common. But, in some places like Utah, smaller communities plan to
increase these physical activity domains to encourage more physical activity
among the community.

Relevance

As someone who is focused on the importance of
physical activity among individuals, this would be the perfect situation to blend
a healthcare leader with local government. Getting someone whose focus is on
personal health involved in the planning of physical activity domains in cities
would be beneficial to the process so people using those domains get the most
physical activity out of them. Figuring out easy and popular types of physical
activity that can be placed in a public outdoor setting would increase the
popularity and use of these physical activity domains. Having someone like a
personal trainer come in a collaborate with parks and recreation managers, for
example, could help get the most out of these physical activity domains in
cities.

Effective
aspects

Combining population information on cities with
slow, medium, and high growth and ordinances already in place or proposed was
effective in receiving the broadest range of data. Instead of just collecting
data on which cities in Utah had ordinances, proposed ordinances, or none at
all regarding physical activity domains, separating the cities into how fast
they are growing was a beneficial for research.

Weaknesses

This article could have been strengthened if it
had data regarding input from the general population and not only those who
work for the local governments in Utah. Hearing what the general population
wants in terms of physical activity domains in their cities could have provided
beneficial input about what would work best for them and be used frequently.
Combining input from the general population and respondents from the local
government could have provided a broader range of information regarding what
the population wants and what ordinances should be put into place to make it
happen.

Further
presentation of information

Taking the data collected from this study, this
could be presented to government officials in another city like Indianapolis,
for example, as inspiration for what could be done to increase physical
activity domains. This information would be very beneficial for very urban and
highly populated cities to learn how to create newer areas for physical
activity.

 

 

References

Librettt, J. J., Yore, M. M., & Schmid, T.
L. (2003). Local ordinances that promote physical activity: A survey of
municipal policies. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9),
1399-1403. doi:10.2105/ajph.93.9.1399