P II – 1–5 Exploring the impact of weather on physical activity in the face of climate change: a literature review and exploratory survey


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Abstract

Background/aimAlthough health impact of climate change (CC) has been studied, only limited research studies are available to understand related health behaviours. Extreme temperatures and rainfall variation could pose barriers to physical activity (PA), a protective factor for well-being and non-communicable diseases. This study aims to explore the relationships and identify predictors between weather and PA.MethodsA literature review was conducted to review the current published knowledge on effects of weather on PA. An exploratory cross-sectional telephone survey was conducted in an Asian sub-tropical city, two weeks after a 2017 heatwave. Ethics approval and participant’s verbal consent were sought. Self-reported changes in outdoor PA, health outcomes and protective behaviours, knowledge of heat-related information, and sociodemographic variables were collected from 436 respondents. Descriptive analyses, Chi-square test, and multivariable logistic regression were conducted to assess predictors of changes in outdoor PA in a heatwave.ResultsThe literature review identified 33 studies on the effects of weather on PA between 2004–2017. The studies focused largely on overall or leisure PA, and varied in study design and methodology. Overall, PA had mixed findings with temperature, negative association with precipitation, wind speed and humidity, and positive association with day length. In the exploratory study, 35.2% of respondents reported a decrease in outdoor PA in the two weeks after a heatwave warning was announced, while 55.6% reported no change, and 9.2% reported an increase. Socio-demographic and behavioural predictors associated with changes in PA were identified by multivariable logistic regression.ConclusionWeather has a demonstrated effect on outdoor PA, which may have implications for health with the more frequent occurrence of extreme weather events. This review and exploratory study provide preliminary evidence of the current state of knowledge on weather and PA. Further studies are needed to quantify the extent of this relationship and investigate adaptation measures to enhance sustainable PA.

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