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Is the Built Environments Associated with Sedentary Behaviour?

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

Results from “Environmental attributes and sedentary behaviours among Canadian adults “.

Koohsari, M.J., Oka, K., Nakaya, T., Shibata, A., Ishii, K., Yasunaga, A., & McCormack, G.R.


The influence of neighbourhood built environments on sedentary behaviour

The impact that built environment features have on resident’s physical activity behaviour is becoming increasingly understood 1. Research has demonstrated that sedentary behaviour, known as activities where a person is sitting or reclining for a prolonged period of time, can negatively affect health in a way that is independent of the impacts of a lack of physical activity 2. Further research is needed to understand the built environments role in reducing sedentary behaviours. A recent study examined the influence of environmental attributes in Canadian neighbourhoods on two key sedentary behaviours: leisure screen time and car driving. Population density, intersection density, sidewalk availability, destination availability, and space syntax walkability (SSW) were measured using geographical information systems (GIS) and space syntax assessments. Surveys collected information regarding the sedentary behaviour of 2006 adults in Calgary, Canada.

Neighbourhood walkability may reduce sedentary behaviour?

Residents of neighbourhoods with a high population density, greater connectivity, and a variety of destinations (e.g. stores, restaurants, parks, etc.) spent less time driving their car. Notably, high SSW had the strongest association with reduced car driving and was the only attribute associated with decreased leisure screen time. Due to the influence of SSW on two key sedentary behaviours, prioritizing neighbourhood walkability in urban planning and policies may be important for improving the overall health of Canadian neighbourhoods.

Suggested Citation: Koohsari, MJ., Oka, K., Nakaya, T., Shibata, A., Ishii, K., Yasunaga, A., McCormack, GR. (2020) Environmental attributes and sedentary behaviours among Canadian adults. Environ. Res. Commun.,

Written by Emma Chong, Bkin; Posted on June 19th, 2020



  1. Koohsari MJ, Sugiyama T, Sahlqvist S, Mavoa S, Hadgraft N, Owen N. Neighborhood environmental attributes and adults' sedentary behaviors: review and research agenda. Preventive medicine. 2015 Aug 1;77:141-9.

  2. Owen N, Sugiyama T, Eakin EE, Gardiner PA, Tremblay MS, Sallis JF. Adults' sedentary behavior: determinants and interventions. American journal of preventive medicine. 2011 Aug 1;41(2):189-96.


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