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A novel method to evaluate the community built environment using photographs--Environmental Profile of a Community Health (EPOCH) photo neighbourhood evaluation tool.

Chow CK, Corsi DJ, Lock K, Madhavan M, Mackie P, Li W, Yi S, Wang Y, Swaminathan S, Lopez-Jaramillo P, Gomez-Arbelaez D, Avezum Á, Lear SA, Dagenais G, Teo K, McKee M, Yusuf S - PLoS ONE (2014)

Bottom Line: Previous research has shown that environments with features that encourage walking are associated with increased physical activity.Photo sets from each community were assessed independently by three observers in the central research office according to the pro forma and the inter-rater reliability was compared by intra-class correlation (ICC).The collection of the photographic data required minimal training and the analysis demonstrated high reliability for the majority of items of interest.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; The George Institute for Global Health and Westmead Hospital Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Previous research has shown that environments with features that encourage walking are associated with increased physical activity. Existing methods to assess the built environment using geographical information systems (GIS) data, direct audit or large surveys of the residents face constraints, such as data availability and comparability, when used to study communities in countries in diverse parts of the world. The aim of this study was to develop a method to evaluate features of the built environment of communities using a standard set of photos. In this report we describe the method of photo collection, photo analysis instrument development and inter-rater reliability of the instrument.

Methods/principal findings: A minimum of 5 photos were taken per community in 86 communities in 5 countries according to a standard set of instructions from a designated central point of each community by researchers at each site. A standard pro forma derived from reviewing existing instruments to assess the built environment was developed and used to score the characteristics of each community. Photo sets from each community were assessed independently by three observers in the central research office according to the pro forma and the inter-rater reliability was compared by intra-class correlation (ICC). Overall 87% (53 of 60) items had an ICC of ≥ 0.70, 7% (4 of 60) had an ICC between 0.60 and 0.70 and 5% (3 of 60) items had an ICC ≤ 0.50.

Conclusions/significance: Analysis of photos using a standardized protocol as described in this study offers a means to obtain reliable and reproducible information on the built environment in communities in very diverse locations around the world. The collection of the photographic data required minimal training and the analysis demonstrated high reliability for the majority of items of interest.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Examples of high scoring communities.In these communities from urban Canada and rural Colombia the common high-scoring characteristics are complete sidewalks, several planted trees, traffic signals, and pedestrian traffic signs, well maintained buildings and roads and the presence of street furniture such as benches and street lamps.
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pone-0110042-g002: Examples of high scoring communities.In these communities from urban Canada and rural Colombia the common high-scoring characteristics are complete sidewalks, several planted trees, traffic signals, and pedestrian traffic signs, well maintained buildings and roads and the presence of street furniture such as benches and street lamps.

Mentions: The mean of 3 observers' summary scores for each domain are tabulated overall and by geographical region in Table 6. In Table 7, the mean scores for all communities are given across the three observers. The urbanization/density score and community disorder score were higher in Brazil/Colombia and the aesthetics/beatification score and pedestrian safety scores were higher in Canada. A sample of photos is shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3 for communities that scored high or low on multiple domains from Canada, Colombia and India.


A novel method to evaluate the community built environment using photographs--Environmental Profile of a Community Health (EPOCH) photo neighbourhood evaluation tool.

Chow CK, Corsi DJ, Lock K, Madhavan M, Mackie P, Li W, Yi S, Wang Y, Swaminathan S, Lopez-Jaramillo P, Gomez-Arbelaez D, Avezum Á, Lear SA, Dagenais G, Teo K, McKee M, Yusuf S - PLoS ONE (2014)

Examples of high scoring communities.In these communities from urban Canada and rural Colombia the common high-scoring characteristics are complete sidewalks, several planted trees, traffic signals, and pedestrian traffic signs, well maintained buildings and roads and the presence of street furniture such as benches and street lamps.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4219679&req=5

pone-0110042-g002: Examples of high scoring communities.In these communities from urban Canada and rural Colombia the common high-scoring characteristics are complete sidewalks, several planted trees, traffic signals, and pedestrian traffic signs, well maintained buildings and roads and the presence of street furniture such as benches and street lamps.
Mentions: The mean of 3 observers' summary scores for each domain are tabulated overall and by geographical region in Table 6. In Table 7, the mean scores for all communities are given across the three observers. The urbanization/density score and community disorder score were higher in Brazil/Colombia and the aesthetics/beatification score and pedestrian safety scores were higher in Canada. A sample of photos is shown in Figure 2 and Figure 3 for communities that scored high or low on multiple domains from Canada, Colombia and India.

Bottom Line: Previous research has shown that environments with features that encourage walking are associated with increased physical activity.Photo sets from each community were assessed independently by three observers in the central research office according to the pro forma and the inter-rater reliability was compared by intra-class correlation (ICC).The collection of the photographic data required minimal training and the analysis demonstrated high reliability for the majority of items of interest.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Population Health Research Institute, Hamilton Health Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada; The George Institute for Global Health and Westmead Hospital Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

ABSTRACT

Background: Previous research has shown that environments with features that encourage walking are associated with increased physical activity. Existing methods to assess the built environment using geographical information systems (GIS) data, direct audit or large surveys of the residents face constraints, such as data availability and comparability, when used to study communities in countries in diverse parts of the world. The aim of this study was to develop a method to evaluate features of the built environment of communities using a standard set of photos. In this report we describe the method of photo collection, photo analysis instrument development and inter-rater reliability of the instrument.

Methods/principal findings: A minimum of 5 photos were taken per community in 86 communities in 5 countries according to a standard set of instructions from a designated central point of each community by researchers at each site. A standard pro forma derived from reviewing existing instruments to assess the built environment was developed and used to score the characteristics of each community. Photo sets from each community were assessed independently by three observers in the central research office according to the pro forma and the inter-rater reliability was compared by intra-class correlation (ICC). Overall 87% (53 of 60) items had an ICC of ≥ 0.70, 7% (4 of 60) had an ICC between 0.60 and 0.70 and 5% (3 of 60) items had an ICC ≤ 0.50.

Conclusions/significance: Analysis of photos using a standardized protocol as described in this study offers a means to obtain reliable and reproducible information on the built environment in communities in very diverse locations around the world. The collection of the photographic data required minimal training and the analysis demonstrated high reliability for the majority of items of interest.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus