The Effect of Perceived Physical Environment on Children's Physical Activity

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Ekşioğlu Çetintahra G., Çubukçu E.

PLANLAMA-PLANNING, vol.25, no.3, pp.205-211, 2015 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 25 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.5505/planlama.2015.32932
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.205-211
  • Keywords: Accelerometer, geographic information systems, children's physical activity, neighborhood, geographic positioning systems, NATIONAL SAMPLE, URBAN SPRAWL, OBESITY, NEIGHBORHOOD, OVERWEIGHT, WALKING, SAFETY, GENDER, RISK, PLAY
  • Dokuz Eylül University Affiliated: Yes


Childhood obesity is one of the most important and global public health problems of the recent years. Although, to overcome increasing childhood obesity, increasing the physical activity levels is recommended. Yet, the scientific research showed that is not the case. Researchers have focused on many parameters that could prevent physical activity., Although there is no clear evidence, it has been repeatedly claimed that, physical environment is one of the many parameters that could prevent or encourage physical activity. This study focused on perceived physical environmental parameters that were asserted as influential on children's physical activity levels. 47 children who were engaged in a private sports school's basketball and swimming classes wore accelerometer and GPS devices for 7 days to provide data on their activities. Parents were asked to evaluate their neighborhood's destination density, safety, aesthetics and activity facilities by a survey. Thus, the perceived physical environmental variables were defined. The statistical findings showed that there are no statistically significant relation between children's physical activity levels and perceived determinants of neighborhood. Methodological limitations regarding the sample size and evaluation of spatial perception may have produced this result. More research are on call. The influences of physical environmental characteristics on physical activities are not clear yet. To remove the lack of producing physical activity supportive spaces on urban design literature, it's important to do research this topic with improved methodology and with a sufficient sample size. Besides, this new methodology could inspire future research on individual behaviors in urban space.