Community Lenses Revealing the Role of Sociocultural Environment on Physical Activity

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  • PURPOSE: To identify perceptions of how sociocultural environment enabled and hindered physical activity (PA) participation. DESIGN: Community-based participatory research. SETTING: Two semirural and two urban communities located in Alberta, Canada. PARTICIPANTS: Thirty-five people (74.3% females, 71.4% aged 25-64 years) across the four communities. METHOD: PhotoVoice activities occurred over 3 months during the spring of 2009. Participants were asked to document perceived environmental attributes that might foster or inhibit PA in their community. Photographs and narratives were shared in one-on-one interviews. Line-by-line coding of the transcripts was independently conducted by two researchers using an inductive approach. Codes were arranged into themes and subthemes, which were then organized into the Analysis Grid for Environments Linked to Obesity (ANGELO) framework. RESULTS: Six main themes (accompanied by subthemes) emerged: sociocultural aesthetics, safety, social involvement, PA motivation, cultural ideas of recreation, and car culture. Representative quotes and photographs illustrate enablers and obstacles identified by participants. CONCLUSION: This PhotoVoice study revealed how aspects of participants' sociocultural environments shaped their decisions to be physically active. Providing more PA resources is only one step in the promotion of supportive environments. Strategies should also account for the beautification and maintenance of communities, increasing feelings of safety, enhancement of social support among community members, popularization of PA, and mitigating car culture, among others.

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    Article (Published)
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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International
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    • Belon, A. P., Nieuwendyk, L. M., Vallianatos, H., & Nykiforuk, C. I. (2016). Community lenses revealing the role of sociocultural environment on physical activity. American journal of health promotion, 30(3), e92-e100.