CiudActiva: Influence of the Urban Environment on Adolescents' Physical Activity Behaviors

The characteristics of the urban environment can determine that Andalusian adolescents are more or less active, spend more or less time in sedentary activities, travel actively or passively to school and have more or less adiposity. For this project, 243 participants from Granada, Jaén, Almería and Valencia between 15 and 16 years of age from 9 secondary schools completed questionnaires consisting of an assessment of their environment and answers to sociodemographic and economic questions. In addition, the routes followed by these adolescents to school were recorded and analyzed by GPS to later carry out an exhaustive analysis and obtain several indicators.

This project is part of the Call for R+D+i Projects within the framework of the Operational Program FEDER ANDALUCÍA 2014-2020 and its Principal Investigators are Palma Chillón, from the Faculty of Sports Sciences of the University of Granada and from the research group PROFITH UGR and Sergio Campos, from the Escuela Técnica Superior of the same university. The Project Manager is Daniel Molina and our participation has been materialized through the analysis of the data and the obtaining of indicators obtained through GIS tools.

Cartography of Building Uses of the City of Valencia, Basis for Obtaining the Mixed Land Use Indicator.

The project has addressed objective measurement methods that assess the complexity of the urban environment as an essential physical support for the development of active behaviors and the extent to which environmental and individual aspects related to active behaviors and sedentary time interact

The main and general objective of the project is to understand the influence of the urban environment on the physical activity behaviors and sedentary time of Andalusian adolescents. The specific objectives are as follows:

  1. To describe the levels of physical activity, sedentary time, mode of travel to school and body composition of adolescents.
  2. Describe the characteristics of three urban environments(a) educational center, (b) home and (c) route from home to educational center.
  3. To associate the characteristics of the three urban environments (educational center, home and route) with the levels of physical activity (in school and out-of-school contexts), sedentary time, mode of travel to the educational center and body composition of the adolescents.
  4. Study the role of green areas in urban environments (educational center, home and route between the two) with the levels of physical activity, sedentary time, mode of travel to the educational center and body composition of the adolescents.
  5. Analyze the routes of adolescents who actively commute to school, the most frequent routes are identified in order to analyze their characteristics and, consequently, to propose suitable alternative routes that favor active travel.
  6. Identify the characteristics of urban environments (educational center, home and home-educational center route) that are associated with active adolescent profiles and with high levels of sedentary time.
  7. Drafting a guide of recommendations on the use, design and planning of urban environments to promote a more active lifestyle among Andalusian adolescents.

Mapping of Resident Density Indicator in the Final 500 Meters of the Route to the Schools

To achieve these objectives, the home and school environments were evaluated, the points of the different homes of young people and schools participating in the study and the routes from each child's home to school and vice versa were defined..

Services Cartography of the City of Granada, Basis for Obtaining the Mixed Land Use Indicator.

Service Density Indicator Mappings in the Final 500 Meters of the Route to the Schools

The variables that have been used measure the two main instances of the study/project; variables of the participants at the level of physical activities and sedentary time, body composition of the children, variables of the urban environment around the homes, schools and the routes between themThe indicators used for the analysis, calculation, and collection of the indicators are: travel mode, composition of the environment, density of residents, density of intersections, land uses, traffic lanes, public transport stops, street furniture, regulation of intersections and controls, parking areas, sidewalks, and green areas. Spatial databases, the street network, the cadastre, the census and the disaggregation and aggregation of data have been used to analyze, calculate and obtain indicators. Programs such as Google Street View and Google Earth, Arcgis and Qqgis have also been used.

Elevation Cartography of the City of Valencia, Base for Obtaining the Visibility Indicator of the Routes to and from the Schools.

The joint use and comparison of the indicators is going to reflect very useful information for the different cities on the factors (whether environmental or socio-demographic) that affect children's and adolescents' travel to schoolThis will provide clues to develop urban plans that favor and facilitate active travel and citizen actions to reduce sedentary lifestyles and achieve higher levels of activity among children and adolescents.

 The results obtained could be of great use for decision making at the public health and urban policy levelsThe results will favor the design of friendlier and more sustainable cities that favor the development of healthier lifestyles in Andalusian youth. In addition, the findings may have clear positive repercussions at social, economic and environmental levels given the benefits associated with these healthy behaviors. Therefore, this project contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030. The World Health Organization agreed to reduce physical inactivity among adolescents by 15% by the year 2030. At the international level, the results obtained may be of interest to the following international organizations, among others The World Health Organization (WHO), the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) and the European Commission.

Cartographs of the Intersection Density Indicator in the initial 500 Meter Route from Homes

Visibility Indicator for the cities of Almeria, Granada, Jaen and Valencia.

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