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Active Voice: The Built Environment and Physical Activity

from By Brian E. Saelens, Ph.D.

Viewpoints presented in SMB commentaries reflect opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of ACSM.

Brian E. Saelens, Ph.D., is an investigator at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and a Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington. A member of ACSM, Dr. Saelens focuses his research on environmental factors and policies that impact physical activity, dietary behavior, and obesity. He also examines the efficacy of behavioral interventions for overweight children. See the April 2012 issue of ACSM’s Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise® (MSSE) for a research article he coauthored titled “Neighborhood Environment and Psychosocial Correlates of Adults’ Physical Activity”.

Physical inactivity ranks among the leading contributors to morbidity and premature mortality in the U.S. Most U.S. adults continue to struggle with not getting the amount of daily physical activity recommended for achieving and sustaining health. This public health concern requires approaches that have population impacts. This has led to a growing interest during the past 10 years to examine issues beyond individual factors and programmatic interventions, in efforts to understand how one’s surrounding environment influences physical activity. more

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