Children's diet and exercise patterns are affected by numerous environmental factors, including the availability of healthful foods and exercise opportunities in the community, media messages about foods, and family practices regarding physical activity and food choices. Efforts to measure these environmental factors are relatively new. The present paper describes an ecobehavioral perspective on factors influencing health behavior. The authors review the reliability and validity of 16 environmental measures relevant to physical activity and nutrition among youth. To illustrate the use of environmental measures, a case study is provided of how one was used to evaluate two partnerships whose missions were to decrease risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers among children. The paper closes with recommendations for research and practice. (C) 2000 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.
- Physical activity