What neighborhood area captures built environment features related to adolescent physical activity?

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In research investigating built environment (BE) influences on physical activity (PA), inconsistent neighborhood definitions may contribute to inconsistent findings. Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Wave I; 1994–95), we compared associations between moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) and PA facility counts and street connectivity measures (intersection density and link:node ratio) within 1, 3, 5, and 8.05 km of each respondent’s residence (Euclidean neighborhood buffers). BE-MVPA associations varied by BE characteristic, urbanicity, and sex. PA facilities within 3 km buffers and intersection density within 1 km buffers exhibited the most consistent associations with MVPA. Policy recommendations and corresponding research should address potential differences in relevant neighborhood areas across environment feature and population subgroup.

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