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MU researchers to study how changes in infrastructure affect physical activity behavior

"Previous studies have simply compared a city with physical activity infrastructure to one without," Sayers said. "This will be one of the first studies of this magnitude to look at physical activity behavior and leisure time physical activity before and after planned infrastructure changes in the same community."

Sayers will conduct a telephone survey of Columbia residents to assess the level of physical activity before the infrastructure changes. The researchers also will interview residents in Lawrence, Kan., who will serve as a control group because of the demographic similarities between Columbia and Lawrence. The interviews will be conducted in the spring and concluded before June 2007 when infrastructure changes begin in Columbia. Two years later, researchers will conduct another assessment of the same individuals and look at how physical activity levels have changed. Sayers hopes to continue to evaluate changes in physical activity behavior in other future surveys to determine the long-term effects of these infrastructure changes.

"Even if physical activity increases by only a small amount in our community, the impact of those changes on obesity-related chronic disease at the national level could significantly reduce the burden on our health care system," Sayers said. "If we discover these infrastructure changes have positively impacted physical activity behavior and leisure time physical activity, then we can strongly advocate legislators to help make these changes happen on a national level."


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Contact: Christian Basi
BasiC@missouri.edu
573-882-4430
University of Missouri-Columbia
31-Jan-2007


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