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Churches as Community Physical Activity Resources: A Descriptive Assessment

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Objective: In this study, we aimed to assess churches as community physical activity (PA) resources in person and via geographic information system (GIS) tools. Methods: Churches (N = 450) in 7 communities were assessed using an adapted version of the Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) in person and using Web-based GIS views. Validity of Web-based PARA methods was examined using weighted kappa, percent agreement, and the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Results: Average PARA ratings for features (2.39) and amenities (2.81) were high quality; incivilities (1.91) were not a high inconvenience. Most PARA items had slight-to-fair agreement (64.7%) between GIS and in-person assessment; however, items displayed low weighted kappa statistics and quality ratings were significantly different as determined by a Wilcoxon signedrank test. Conclusions: Churches may be viable community PA resources and provide locations for PA. Web-based assessment may not capture quality as well as in-person assessment and more research should be done as technology advances.
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Keywords: CHURCH-BASED HEALTH; FAITH-BASED COMMUNITY; GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEM; GIS; HEALTH PROMOTION; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2019

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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