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Understanding the relationships between the physical environment and physical activity in older adults: a systematic review of qualitative studies.

Moran M, Van Cauwenberg J, Hercky-Linnewiel R, Cerin E, Deforche B, Plaut P - Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act (2014)

Bottom Line: While physical activity (PA) provides many physical, social, and mental health benefits for older adults, they are the least physically active age group.These factors were categorized into five themes: pedestrian infrastructure, safety, access to amenities, aesthetics, and environmental conditions.Future qualitative studies on the physical environment and older adults' PA would benefit from combining interviews with more spatially-oriented methods.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel. moran.mika@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT

Background: While physical activity (PA) provides many physical, social, and mental health benefits for older adults, they are the least physically active age group. Ecological models highlight the importance of the physical environment in promoting PA. However, results of previous quantitative research revealed inconsistencies in environmental correlates of older adults' PA that may be explained by methodological issues. Qualitative studies can inform and complement quantitative research on environment-PA relationships by providing insight into how and why the environment influences participants' PA behaviors. The current study aimed to provide a systematic review of qualitative studies exploring the potential impact of the physical environment on older adults' PA behaviors.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted in databases of various disciplines, including: health, architecture and urban planning, transportation, and interdisciplinary databases. From 3,047 articles identified in the physical activity, initial search, 31 articles published from 1996 to 2012 met all inclusion criteria. An inductive content analysis was performed on the extracted findings to identify emerging environmental elements related to older adults' PA. The identified environmental elements were then grouped by study methodologies [indoor interviews (individual or focus groups) vs spatial methods (photo-voice, observations, walk-along interviews)].

Results: This review provides detailed information about environmental factors that potentially influence older adults' PA behaviors. These factors were categorized into five themes: pedestrian infrastructure, safety, access to amenities, aesthetics, and environmental conditions. Environmental factors especially relevant to older adults (i.e., access to facilities, green open spaces and rest areas) tended to emerge more frequently in studies that combined interviews with spatial qualitative methods.

Conclusions: Findings showed that qualitative research can provide in-depth information on environmental elements that influence older adults' PA. Future qualitative studies on the physical environment and older adults' PA would benefit from combining interviews with more spatially-oriented methods. Multidisciplinary mixed-methods studies are recommended to establish quantitative relationships complemented with in-depth qualitative information.

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Flow chart of the systematic literature search representing yield and inclusion into the review.
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Figure 1: Flow chart of the systematic literature search representing yield and inclusion into the review.

Mentions: In light of the multidisciplinary nature of our topic, relevant articles were searched in databases of various disciplines, including databases on health (Pubmed, Cinahl, and Cochrane), PA (Sportdiscus and ALR database), architecture and urban planning (Avery, Urban Studies Abstracts, and RIBA), transportation (TRIS and Transport), and interdisciplinary databases (Web of Science and Google Scholar). The search terms included a combination of key words related to the physical environment (e.g., walkability, neighborhood), PA (e.g., leisure activities, active travel), qualitative methodologies (e.g., focus groups, in-depth interviews), and older adults (e.g., elderly, seniors). The full combination of search terms is presented in Figure 1. The retrieved articles were consecutively screened for eligibility by title, abstract, and full text. For all articles included by full text, a back- and forward tracking procedure was performed to identify additional relevant articles. Figure 1 presents a flow chart of our systematic literature search, according to the PRISMA-guidelines [23].


Understanding the relationships between the physical environment and physical activity in older adults: a systematic review of qualitative studies.

Moran M, Van Cauwenberg J, Hercky-Linnewiel R, Cerin E, Deforche B, Plaut P - Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act (2014)

Flow chart of the systematic literature search representing yield and inclusion into the review.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4119420&req=5

Figure 1: Flow chart of the systematic literature search representing yield and inclusion into the review.
Mentions: In light of the multidisciplinary nature of our topic, relevant articles were searched in databases of various disciplines, including databases on health (Pubmed, Cinahl, and Cochrane), PA (Sportdiscus and ALR database), architecture and urban planning (Avery, Urban Studies Abstracts, and RIBA), transportation (TRIS and Transport), and interdisciplinary databases (Web of Science and Google Scholar). The search terms included a combination of key words related to the physical environment (e.g., walkability, neighborhood), PA (e.g., leisure activities, active travel), qualitative methodologies (e.g., focus groups, in-depth interviews), and older adults (e.g., elderly, seniors). The full combination of search terms is presented in Figure 1. The retrieved articles were consecutively screened for eligibility by title, abstract, and full text. For all articles included by full text, a back- and forward tracking procedure was performed to identify additional relevant articles. Figure 1 presents a flow chart of our systematic literature search, according to the PRISMA-guidelines [23].

Bottom Line: While physical activity (PA) provides many physical, social, and mental health benefits for older adults, they are the least physically active age group.These factors were categorized into five themes: pedestrian infrastructure, safety, access to amenities, aesthetics, and environmental conditions.Future qualitative studies on the physical environment and older adults' PA would benefit from combining interviews with more spatially-oriented methods.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Faculty of Architecture and Town Planning, Technion - Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 32000, Israel. moran.mika@gmail.com.

ABSTRACT

Background: While physical activity (PA) provides many physical, social, and mental health benefits for older adults, they are the least physically active age group. Ecological models highlight the importance of the physical environment in promoting PA. However, results of previous quantitative research revealed inconsistencies in environmental correlates of older adults' PA that may be explained by methodological issues. Qualitative studies can inform and complement quantitative research on environment-PA relationships by providing insight into how and why the environment influences participants' PA behaviors. The current study aimed to provide a systematic review of qualitative studies exploring the potential impact of the physical environment on older adults' PA behaviors.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted in databases of various disciplines, including: health, architecture and urban planning, transportation, and interdisciplinary databases. From 3,047 articles identified in the physical activity, initial search, 31 articles published from 1996 to 2012 met all inclusion criteria. An inductive content analysis was performed on the extracted findings to identify emerging environmental elements related to older adults' PA. The identified environmental elements were then grouped by study methodologies [indoor interviews (individual or focus groups) vs spatial methods (photo-voice, observations, walk-along interviews)].

Results: This review provides detailed information about environmental factors that potentially influence older adults' PA behaviors. These factors were categorized into five themes: pedestrian infrastructure, safety, access to amenities, aesthetics, and environmental conditions. Environmental factors especially relevant to older adults (i.e., access to facilities, green open spaces and rest areas) tended to emerge more frequently in studies that combined interviews with spatial qualitative methods.

Conclusions: Findings showed that qualitative research can provide in-depth information on environmental elements that influence older adults' PA. Future qualitative studies on the physical environment and older adults' PA would benefit from combining interviews with more spatially-oriented methods. Multidisciplinary mixed-methods studies are recommended to establish quantitative relationships complemented with in-depth qualitative information.

Show MeSH