PACES: A physical activity campus environmental supports audit on university campuses

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Purpose. This study evaluated the policy and built and recreation environmental supports for physical activity on 13 university campuses. Design. Environmental audit survey. Setting. Thirteen U.S. universities, 2009. Subjects. University policies, recreation programs and facilities, and at least five additional buildings per campus. Measures. The Physical Activity Campus Environmental Supports Audit was developed for this study. Analysis. Analysis of variance with post hoc Tukey's B and Χ2 assessed differences by institution and building type. Results. The mean obesogenic policy score was significantly lower than the desired score, ≥7 (p = .002), with only one campus scoring 10. The mean built environment audit score (5.4 ± 1.7) was low, with significant differences between institutions (p <.001) and only three campuses scoring above the desired score, ≥7. Although generally stairwells were clean and well lighted, there was a lack of signage to encourage stair use (p <.001). Overall, recreation programs (7.1 ± .7) and facilities (7.1 ± 1.2) scored well, but amenities scores were lower for satellite (2.8 ± 1.6) versus main (4.1 ± 1.8) recreation facilities (p = .04). Conclusion. On these 13 university campuses, recreation programs and facilities were supportive of healthful lifestyles for obesity prevention, but policies and the built environment were not. This physical activity environmental audit survey requires testing in a wider sample of postsecondary institutions to corroborate its utility and provide evidence to support initiatives to improve campus environments for physical activity. Copyright © 2014 by American Journal of Health Promotion, Inc.

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American Journal of Health Promotion