Physical activity and community
Varughese George, Deepu
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Researchers in the field have called for “choice-enabling” perspectives than traditional “choice-persuasive” perspectives to understand physical activity (PA). Choice-enabling perspectives help to uncover macro environmental and social processes that influence PA. The present study explored longitudinal influence of neighborhood, social integration, and social participation on PA, using the social organizational theory of community action and change. Using multi-level data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, I proposed that community characteristics like neighborhood stability (Wave I) would influence individual levels of PA (Wave IV). Then, neighborhood stability can also influence individual levels of social participation and higher levels of social participation will be associated with higher levels of PA. Findings suggested the importance of early neighborhood stability and the important role of individual social participation for increased PA. Overall, the findings underscore the importance of understanding how community and social integration influence levels of PA.