Associations between Children's Physical Activity and Neighborhood Environments Using GIS: A Secondary Analysis from a Systematic Scoping Review.

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Regular participation in physical activity is essential for children's physical, mental, and cognitive health. Neighborhood environments may be especially important for children who are more likely to spend time in the environment proximal to home. This article provides an update of evidence for associations between children's physical activity behaviors and objectively assessed environmental characteristics derived using geographical information system (GIS)-based approaches. A systematic scoping review yielded 36 relevant articles of varying study quality. Most studies were conducted in the USA. Findings highlight the need for neighborhoods that are well connected, have higher population densities, and have a variety of destinations in the proximal neighborhood to support children's physical activity behaviors. A shorter distance to school and safe traffic environments were significant factors in supporting children's active travel behaviors. Areas for improvement in the field include the consideration of neighborhood self-selection bias, including more diverse population groups, ground-truthing GIS databases, utilising data-driven approaches to derive environmental indices, and improving the temporal alignment of GIS datasets with behavioral outcomes.

geographic information systems, youth, active travel, walking, cycling, play, MVPA, health geography, adolescent, children’s geographies
MRC (MC_UU_00006/5)