Environmental factors such as the accessibility of parks and recreation facilities, satisfaction with a neighborhood, and perceived safety are a handful of variables that have demonstrated conflicting associations with physical activity. This study explores the relationship between exercise and selected environmental and lifestyle variables in the communities of north Miami-Dade County.
Data for this study were obtained from a 2009-2010 population-based random sample survey conducted by the Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. 1,737 households in north Miami-Dade County were surveyed. IBM SPSS Statistics 19 was used to conduct bivariate analysis and correspondence analysis. Bivariate analysis was conducted comparing exercise to all other variables. Correspondence analysis was used in order to identify systematic relations between variables.
Race, fruit consumption, and salad consumption were significantly related to exercise (p<0.05). Soda consumption was related to exercise with a p<0.1. Within race, fruit, salad, and soda consumption the population that reported exercise >3/week was significantly larger than the populations of any other exercise variable. The only exception were those that reported “did not eat fruit in the past 7 days,” in which exercise >3/week (37.8%, 95% CI: 30.6%-44.9%) overlapped with those that reported never exercising (27.2%, 95% CI: 20.7%-33.8%). Among race, fruit, salad, and soda consumption, those that reported never exercising were not significantly different from those who reported “exercise 1-2/week” and “exercise 3/week.” The exceptions were a significantly larger portion of the population reporting “never exercise” compared to “exercise 1-2/week” and “exercise 3/week" in: Hispanics ("never exercise" 26.98%, 95% CI: 22.83%-31.14%), those that did not eat fruit in the past 7 days ("never exercise" 27.2%, 95% CI: 20.7%-33.8%), those that did not eat salad in the past 7 days ("never exercise" 27%, 95% CI: 22.1%-31.9%), and those that drank soda at least once a day in the past 7 days ("never exercise" 24.4%, 95% CI: 19.8%-29.0%). Correspondence analysis was conducted on all variables related to exercise with a p<0.1. Results were based on cluster grouping of correspondence analysis biplots. Correspondence analysis demonstrated that those who reported more fruit and salad consumption were likely to report more exercise and that those who reported more soda consumption were likely to report less exercise.
The results from this study demonstrate that exercise is not associated with any environmental variables. Increased exercise was shown to be related to eating more fruit and salad and drinking less soda. In north Miami-Dade County, the internal desire to live a healthy lifestyle is a stronger stimulus for physical activity than the environment. Future studies will focus on the cause of the lack of relationship between physical activity and the environment. These findings serve as an impetus to modify the local environment to improve its association with exercise.