UBC Faculty Research and Publications

International comparison of observation-specific spatial buffers: maximizing the ability to estimate physical activity Frank, Lawrence D; Fox, Eric H; Ulmer, Jared M; Chapman, James E; Kershaw, Suzanne E; Sallis, James F; Conway, Terry L; Cerin, Ester; Cain, Kelli L; Adams, Marc A; Smith, Graham R; Hinckson, Erica; Mavoa, Suzanne; Christiansen, Lars B; Hino, Adriano A F; Lopes, Adalberto A S; Schipperijn, Jasper


Background: Advancements in geographic information systems over the past two decades have increased the specificity by which an individual’s neighborhood environment may be spatially defined for physical activity and health research. This study investigated how different types of street network buffering methods compared in measuring a set of commonly used built environment measures (BEMs) and tested their performance on associations with physical activity outcomes. Methods: An internationally-developed set of objective BEMs using three different spatial buffering techniques were used to evaluate the relative differences in resulting explanatory power on self-reported physical activity outcomes. BEMs were developed in five countries using ‘sausage,’ ‘detailed-trimmed,’ and ‘detailed,’ network buffers at a distance of 1 km around participant household addresses (n = 5883). Results: BEM values were significantly different (p 

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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