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Priorities of Municipal Policymakers in Relation to Physical Activity and the Built Environment: A Latent Class Analysis
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  • Description:

    Examine policymakers’ public policy priorities related to physical activity and the built environment, identify classes of policymakers based on priorities using latent class analysis (LCA), and assess factors associated with class membership.


    Cross-sectional survey data from municipal officials in 94 cities and towns across six U.S. states were analyzed.


    Participants (N=423) were elected or appointed municipal officials spanning public health, planning, transportation/public works, community and economic development, parks and recreation, and city management.

    Main Outcome Measures

    Participants rated the importance of 11 policy areas (public health, physical activity, obesity, economic development, livability, climate change, air quality, natural resource conservation, traffic congestion; traffic safety, and needs of vulnerable populations) in their daily job responsibilities. LCA was used to determine response patterns and identify distinct classes based on officials’ priorities. Logistic regression models assessed participant characteristics associated with class membership.


    Four classes of officials based on policy priorities emerged: 1) economic development and livability; 2) economic development and traffic concerns; 3) public health; and 4) general (all policy areas rated as highly important). Compared to class 4, officials in classes 1 and 3 were more likely to have a graduate degree; officials in class 2 were less likely to be in a public health job/department, and officials in class 3 were more likely to be in a public health job/department.


    Findings can guide public health professionals in framing discussions with policymakers to maximize physical activity potential of public policy initiatives, particularly economic development.

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    P30 DK092950/DK/NIDDK NIH HHS/United States
    U48 DP001933/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
    U48 DP001903/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
    R25 CA171994/CA/NCI NIH HHS/United States
    U48/DP001903/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
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