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Understanding and influencing physical activity to improve health outcomes
conference contributionposted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by N Owen, K Spathonis, Evie Leslie
Participation in physical activity is associated with significant benefits to health. We provide an overview of research relevant to understanding and influencing health-enhancing physical activity in adults. We describe a behavioural epidemiology framework that is designed to integrate the range of studies in the field; give brief examples of studies on the relationships between physical activity and health outcomes; and, we consider descriptive studies of adult populations on levels of participation. We describe research findings on the correlates of physical activity participation; describe ecological models of health behaviour that may be used in understanding and influencing physical activity; and, we review research findings on how environmental attributes can influence adults’ physical activity, particularly walking. There is considerable potential to use evidence-based approaches to increase the physical activity levels of whole populations, particularly through a focus on developing the attributes of community environments that can promote walking.