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Title:New active green environments (new age): Older adults' perceptions about physical activity opportunities in their local environment
Author(s):Malavasi, Leticia Matos
Director of Research:Chodzko-Zajko, Wojtek
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chodzko-Zajko, Wojtek
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Graber, Kim C.; Payne, Laura L.; Schwingel, Andiara
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Older adults
Physical Activity
Abstract:Health behavior, planning and community design studies consistently find that the environment can act to serve as a barrier to physical activity, as well as a facilitator for activity options. Recent research suggests that reconfiguring the built environment in a way to increase the number and variety of opportunities for physical activity available to community residents, there would be an increase likelihood of individuals choosing to be physically active. The purpose of this project was to explore the perceptions of older adults regarding the environment around the retirement communities in which they live and the impact that this environment has on their attitudes and values towards physical activity. To accomplish such purpose, a qualitative research design was used to evaluate the subjective reactions and responses of older adults living in three retirement communities in the Urbana-Champaign area. Twelve participants from each facility were interviewed for about 60-90 minutes and answered thirty research questions related to the attitudes towards physical activity and outdoor environment that surronds their facility. By including older adults living in three quite different locations which differ substantially with respect to environmental support for physical activity, this project was be able to identify a diverse sample of older adults who vary with respect to how they value both individual physical activity participation and the environment in which they live. Several distinct cohorts of older adults were identified; (1) individuals who were highly positive about redesigned landscape to stimulate active choices, (2) individuals who were non-supportive of redevelopment their facility; as well as (3) regular users of outdoors, and (4) non-users of the outdoor space. Changes to the built environment have the potential to be viewed both more and less positively. It is important to carefully study the preferences and opinions of older persons prior to embarking on any strategy to redesign the environment. By increasing our understanding of how and why preferences and values interact with environmental variables, we will have a better compreehension of environmental changes.
Issue Date:2011-01-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Leticia M. Malavasi
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-01-14
Date Deposited:December 2

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