Equity of access to physical activity facilities in an English city

Jenna Panter, Andy Jones, Melvyn Hillsdon

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57 Citations (Scopus)


Objective.: To examine associations between household income, access to sports facilities and gyms, and physical activity in an English city. Method.: A cross sectional geographical study was conducted in six neighbourhoods in the city of Norwich in August and September 2004. Participants were (n = 401) adults who received, completed, and returned questionnaires. Road distances to facilities were calculated using Geographical Information System. Results.: For all facility types except gyms, mean income was lowest amongst those living farthest away. Compared to those with the lowest incomes, the most affluent participants lived on average just over 0.5 km closer to a facility of any type, 1 km closer to a sports facility but 900 m farther from a gym (all p < 0.001). In general, those living farther from facilities reported that they were less active although they did not tend to report a desire to exercise more. Conclusion.: People in low income households, who are more likely to adopt low levels of activity, are least well served by affordable facilities that would enable them to become more active. If the British Government is to meet targets for improving levels of physical activity, it may need to consider how market forces might be creating an inequitable distribution of facility provision.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-307
Number of pages5
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2008

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