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Characteristics of the Built Environment in Relation to Objectively Measured Physical Activity Among Mexican Adults, 2011
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    Introduction

    The built environment correlates of physical activity are documented in high-income countries but have yet to be studied among Mexican adults. Our objectives were to assess the associations between characteristics of the built environment and physical activity among adults in Cuernavaca, Mexico, and to examine potential moderation by perceived park and neighborhood safety.

    Methods

    We conducted a population-based study of adults in Cuernavaca, Mexico, in 2011 (N = 677). Participants wore Actigraph GT3X accelerometers for 7 days. We used geographic information systems (GIS) to generate 500-m- and 1-km-buffer–based measures of net residential density, proportion of commercial land use, land-use mix, connectivity, walkability, and number of parks and transit routes. We also obtained data on distance to the nearest park with GIS. Perceived neighborhood and park safety were self-reported. We created quartile-based categories for all built environment characteristics and ran linear regression models to estimate the association between each characteristic and total weekly moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and MVPA within 10-minute bouts.

    Results

    Walkability was inversely related to total weekly minutes of MVPA (1-km buffer, −46.9 [standard error, 20.0]; P = .03) and weekly minutes of MVPA within bouts (500-m buffer, −31.5 [12.9]; P = .02). The number of transit routes in the 500-m buffer was inversely related to total weekly minutes of MVPA (−23.8 [10.6]; P = .04). Perception of park safety moderated the association between physical activity and having a park intersect the 500-m buffer.

    Conclusion

    Our findings contrast with those from high-income countries, suggesting that environmental programs and policies to increase physical activity in Mexican cities cannot be adapted from high-income countries without considering the local context.