Research Study Abstract

Perceived environment and neighbourhood characteristics: What is their relationship with physical activity of heart disease patients not attending cardiac rehabilitation?

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: Emerging literature suggests that the environment can impact physical activity levels. To date, however, very little is known about the role of the environment with individuals living with heart disease. The purpose of this study was to objectively measure the physical activity (PA) of individuals with coronary heart disease (CHD) who were not enrolled in a cardiac rehabilitation program, and to examine its relationship with perceived neighbourhood characteristics.

Methods: 324 CHD patients from 8 sites across Canada wore an accelerometer and GPS unit for 7 days and completed a questionnaire that included demographic and neighbourhood characteristics. Accelerometers had to be worn for a minimum of 10 hours/day for at least 4 days to be used in the analyses. ActiLife 6 software was used to calculate the number of minutes per day participants engaged in light, moderate and vigorous PA.

Results: Data for 290 participants (mean age = 65.37; 71% male; 90.5% white) were analyzed. On average, participants engaged in 123.2 (SD=43.5) minutes/day of light activity, 33.6 (SD=23.6) minutes/day of moderate activity, and 2.4 (SD=9.2) minutes/day of vigorous activity. Zero-order correlations showed that moderate PA was significantly associated with perceived positive neighbourhood cohesion (r=.153, p<.05), positive neighborhood characteristics (r=-.179; p<.005), and more places to do PA in the community (r=.281; p<.001). Light and vigorous PA were not associated with neighbourhood characteristics.

Conclusions: Based on the preliminary findings, perceived neighbourhood characteristics should be considered when designing physical activity interventions for CHD patients who are not enrolled in cardiac rehab.