Assessment of the Community and a Built Environment for Physical Activity


Assessmentof the Community and a Built Environment for Physical Activity

Assessmentof the Community and a Built Environment for Physical Activity

Beforeproviding the built environment for the environment under analysis,it is vital to state the vitality of physical activity to people’shealth and well-being. Physical activity was described as theleading yardstick for a healthy people in 2010 by the Healthy Peoplemagazine (Brownson, Hoehner, Day, Forsyth&amp Sallis, 2009). Different scientific studies prove the importance of physicalactivity to human health. Even slight physical activity such aswalking reduces the risk of some life threatening diseases such ascardiovascular disease and diabetes. Physical activity also improvesthe psychological well-being of individuals and also reduces thechances of being over-weight or obese. People who engage in physicalactivity keep their calories accumulation at balance with the energythey use for physical and metabolic processes.

Thearea under assessment is a town of about 150,000 people. The area’sbuilt environment is fit for physical activity for people of allages. The area has several aspects that allow people to engage invarious types of physical activity ranging from accommodativetransportation networks such as walking paths and sidewalks. It alsohas community parks where children and adults can have refreshingmoments by jogging round the pitches on the west side of the town,fitness clubs, and recreations facilities where people pay a minimalmaintenance fee to participate in undemanding physical activity.

Thetransportation systems of the area

Onehas to take a walk in the town to see the physical infrastructure inthe area. The transportation systems are mapped in terms of thephysical infrastructure that carries traffic such as streets and raillines for mass transit on the eastern side of the town. The westernside of the town is area of interest because it is mapped with thetotality of networks for use by individual each mode, such as thebicycle. The planners of the city created a lot of space forpedestrians. From the west side stretching into the central businessdistrict, the town has numerous sidewalks within the park boundaries,and biking and hiking trails. Thus, there are enough paved systemsdesigned for use by pedestrians, bicyclists, rollerblades and otherphysical activity that need smooth grounds.

Thestreet off-street networks in the town

Thereare several specialized infrastructure for nonmotorized modes oftransportation and other form so recreational physical activity. Evenoff-street areas adjacent to the town have pathways and sidewalknetworks for bicycles, shared facilities that accommodate multipleusers. The pathways and sidewalks provide linkages to the inner cityand in-town destinations. The local government has a transpirationpolicy that seeks to make alternative modes of travel easy, safe andaccessible to all people.

Fitnessclubs and recreational facilities

Thereare also other public and private facilities in the town sponsored bythe local government as part of the entire program to supportphysical activity. There are also non-profit organizations thatprovide physical activity sessions to people of all walks as long asthey make a monthly semi-annual subscription. The town has aboutfifteen dance studios, five health clubs, and a non-profit martialarts organization. Towards the exit of the city on the westerncorridor, the town has swimming clubs and sports centers wheremembers take part in various training activities and leisure sportsover the weekends and holidays. There are also faith-basedorganizations such as the Methodist church located outside the towncenter that have physical activity facilities and programs in oneplace for their members. The facilities and programs are alsoavailable to others in the community.

Thelocal government has done a commendable to ensure that there arefacilities for physical activity. However, there should more emphasison regularly scheduled class for school-going children who have agreater risk of being obese of overweight. The authorities andnon-governmental organizations should also include seminars oncalisthenics, jogging, alcohol abuse, smoking, and stress management(Handy, Boarnet, Ewing, &amp Killingsworth, 2002). Program benefitsincludes savings in major medical costs, a reduction in the averagenumber of disability days and a reduction in the number of directdisability costs. These programs aim at complementing the effortsalready made in equipping the town with facilities for physicalactivity. The efforts of the local government and other organizationsneed complementary community outreach efforts that would encouragepeople of all ages to engage in physical activity.


Peopleof all ages can benefit from these facilities if the government andother concerned parties facilitate community outreach programs toimprove access. Community outreach interventions should targetschools, work sites, recreation facilities and other locations in thecommunity. These recommendations are cognizant of the fact that youngchildren and the elderly can engage in physical activity if theyencouraged to do so. Community outreach efforts are ideal intargeting children and the elderly. The idea of outreach and accessto some of these facilities is complementary because it is necessaryfor people of all ages to have places of physical activity that areconvenient, attractive, and safe (Frank, Engelke &amp Schmid, 2003).


Brownson,R. C., Hoehner, C. M., Day, K., Forsyth, A., &amp Sallis, J. F.(2009). Measuring the built environment for physical activity: stateof the science. Americanjournal of preventive medicine,36(4),S99-S123.

Handy,S. L., Boarnet, M. G., Ewing, R., &amp Killingsworth, R. E. (2002).How the built environment affects physical activity: views from urbanplanning. Americanjournal of preventive medicine,23(2),64-73.

Frank,L., Engelke, P., &amp Schmid, T. (2003). Healthand community design: the impact of the built environment on physicalactivity.Island Press.

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