Primary Investigator:


Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
Ilse.Debourdeaudhuij@ugent.be

Master in Clinical Psychology from the Ghent University (Belgium), Postgraduate in Behavioral Therapy, Ph.D. in Health Psychology for Ghent University.
Full professor at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Department of Movement and Sport Sciences at the Ghent University, Belgium.
Research areas: health psychology, health promotion and primary prevention.
Research topics: promotion of healthy eating and physical activity, including research on determinants (psychosocial and environmental) of nutrition and activity behaviors, and on developing and evaluating interventions to promote both health behaviors in children, adolescents and adults. Research designs include validations studies, surveys on nutrition and activity habits and their determinants, quasi-experimental designs in schools, and randomized control trials to test intervention effects.

Research Team:

Greet Cardon
Email: Greet.Cardon@ugent.be

Greet Cardon is an assistant professor at the Department of Movement and Sports Sciences of Ghent University, Belgium, where she is a member of the research group “Physical activity, fitness and Health”. She does research in the field of physical activity, mainly focusing on children and youngsters. Her research focuses on understanding the determinants of physical activity, as well as identifying the most effective ways to promote physical activity in different age groups. Recently several studies were initialized evaluating environmental correlates of physical activity and studying physical activity levels, including in young children. Furthermore she supervises the BEPAS-study in youngsters, focusing on environmental correlates of physical activity in Belgium. She published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals and authored or co-authored several book chapters and 2 books.

Benedicte Deforche
Email: Benedicte.Deforche@ugent.be

Benedicte Deforche is assistant Professor (80%) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy) and post-doc researcher (20%) at Ghent University (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences). She obtained her PhD on “Physical activity and fitness in overweight and obese youth” in 2004.  Her current research focuses on environmental correlates of (changes in) physical activity and overweight in children and adolescents.  She is involved in two IPEN projects on youth and adults.

Delfien Van Dyck, PhD
Email: Delfien.Vandyck@ugent.be
Delfien Van Dyck is a post-doctoral researcher at Ghent University in Ghent, Belgium. Her PhD focused on the relationship between the objectively measured and perceived physical environment and physical activity in adults. She executed the Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study (BEPAS), an IPEN related project with a similar protocol and similar measures as the NQLS (USA) and PLACE (Australia) studies. She works at the Department at Movement and Sports Sciences of Ghent University. For her post-doctoral project, she will conduct a longitudinal study with two waves of data collection over two years, examining the multidimensional correlates of physical activity and sedentary time in recently retired adults. Furthermore, she will develop and implement an intervention to stimulate active living in this target group.

Sara D’Haese, PhD student
Email: Sara.Dhaese@ugent.be

Sara D’Haese is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Movement and Sport Sciences of the University of Ghent, Belgium. She is working under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon and Prof. Dr. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij. Currently, she is doing data collection and processing data of the Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study (BEPAS) in Children, a cross-sectional study in Ghent. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of the social environmental, physical environmental and individual factors on physical activity and obesity in 9 to 12 year old children, within the ecological model.

Veerle Van Holle, PhD student
Email: Veerle.VanHolle@ugent.be

Veerle Van Holle is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Movement and Sport Sciences of the University of Ghent, Belgium. She is working under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij and Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon. Currently, she is processing data of the Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study (BEPAS) in Older Adults, a cross-sectional study in Ghent. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the influence of the social environmental, physical environmental and individual factors on physical activity and obesity in older adults (65+), within the ecological model.

Griet Vanwolleghem, PhD student
Email: Griet.vanwolleghem@ugent.be

Griet Vanwolleghem is a Ph.D. student at the Department of Movement and Sport Sciences of the University of Ghent, Belgium. She is working under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Greet Cardon and Prof. Dr. Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij. She is working on a project which investigates more and safer mobility in Flemish primary school children. Currently, she is reporting the results of a pilot study using Google Street View to map environmental characteristics of cycling routes to school. The purpose of that study was to examine the intra- and inter-rater reliability and criterion validity of a newly developed audit instrument using Google Street View. Furthermore, she is processing data of a feasibility study where the use of drop-off spots (spots where parents can drop their child within a feasible distance of the school) is being investigated to increase children’s daily active transport to school. In the near future, she will do data collection and process data of a pilot study that uses GPS to determine children’s activity spaces and active transport in their leisure time. Together with Sara D’Haese, she will be involved in the practical organization (planning, data collection and data processing) of the Belgian IPEN Adolescent study.

 

Abstract: The Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study (BEPAS) in Youth.
This cross-sectional study examines the associations between environmental variables and the level of physical activity in adolescents. Adolescents (n = 1399) were selected from 32 neighbourhoods in Ghent varying in walkability and socio-economic status. To determine neighbourhood walkability, attributes of residential density, land-use mix and street connectivity were derived from Geographic Information System databases. All participating adolescents were asked to complete a questionnaire assessing perceived neighbourhood environmental characteristics, demographic information, psychosocial data and physical activity. The adolescents were also asked to wear an accelerometer for seven days. Height and weight were objectively measured and Body mass index was calculated. Analyses of the data are in progress.

The Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study (BEPAS) aims at investigating the associations between the physical environment and physical activity, sedentary behaviors and overweight in adults. For this study, 24 neighborhoods in Ghent, Belgium were selected. Neighborhoods were stratified based on objectively measured (GIS) walkability, and matched on SES variables. This selection procedure resulted in 6 high-SES/high-walkable, 6 high-SES/low-walkable, 6 low-SES/high-walkable and 6 low-SES/low-walkable neighborhoods. In total, 1200 adults (20-65 years) participated in the study. All participants wore an accelerometer for seven consecutive days and filled in the Dutch version of the NEWS and a questionnaire on sociodemographics and psychosocial factors. Also, the long IPAQ (last seven days – interview version) was completed.  Main results showed that living in a high walkable neighborhood was associated with more active transportation, more accelerometer-based MVPA and more leisure-time walking, both in high-SES and low-SES neighborhoods. However, living in a high walkable neighborhood also appeared to be associated with more sedentary behavior, which certainly needs further investigation in future studies.

Study design and participant recruitment

  1. Similar to designs of NQLS and PLACE
  2. Study conducted in Ghent (+/- 237,000 inhabitants, area of 156.18 km²), Belgium
  3. Data collection between May 2007 and September 2008
  4. 1200 participants
  5. 24 neighbourhoods, based on statistical sectors
  6. Stratification on walkabililty (high vs low), based on GIS data + matching on SES variables, derived from census data

24 neighbourhoods: 6 high walkable/high SES, 6 high walkable/low SES, 6 low walkable/high SES, and 6 low walkable/low SES

  1. each neighbourhood: 250 randomly selected adults (20-65 years) received information letter. 2 to 6 days after posting the letter: home visits.
  2. Inclusion criteria:
    1. 20-65 years
    2. Living in private dwellings like apartments and houses
    3. Being able to walk without assistance
    4. Being able to fill in Dutch questionnaires
  3. During home visit:
    1. Signing informed consent
    2. Long last 7 day IPAQ completed in interview version
    3. Instructions on accelerometer wearing (7 consecutive days)
    4. Demographic questionnaire, NEWS and psychosocial questionnaire delivered
  4. Second home visit :
    1. Recollection accelerometers and completed questionnaires
  5. Home visits were done until 50 participants were recruited in each neighbourhood.

Demographic characteristics of participants

  1. 1200 participants, 50 per neighbourhood
  2. All participants were already measured, not planning to collect more data
  3. Sex: 47.9% male, 52.1% female
  4. Age: mean age of 42.7 (12.6) years
  5. Body Mass Index:  males: mean BMI of 25.3 (3.7) kg/m²

                                    females: mean BMI of 23.8 (3.9) kg/m²

  1. employment status: 76.1% employed, 23.9% not employed
  2. education: 4.4% primary, 34.6% secondary, 60.9% college/university
  3. occupation: 24.9% blue collar, 75.1% white collar

Measures

  • Physical activity: long Dutch IPAQ (last 7 days) interview version and CSA accelerometer, 7 consecutive days of wearing
  • Demographic variables: self-reported sex, age, education, living situation, working situation, working status, height, weight, and address.
  • Neighbourhood perceptions: Dutch validated version of the NEWS, self-administration
  • Psychosocial correlates of PA: self-administered Dutch questionnaire
  • Neighbourhood walkability: GIS on neighbourhood level: connectivity, residential density and land use mix in each neighbourhood. Walkability index based on index used by L. Frank for the NQLS.
  • Neighbourhood SES: based on median annual household income data (NIS).

    1. Van Dyck D, Cardon G, Deforche B, Sallis JF, Owen N, De Bourdeaudhuij I. Neighborhood SES and walkability are related to physical activity behavior in Belgian adults. Prev Med 2010; 50: S74-S79.

    2. Van Dyck D, Cardon G, Deforche B, Owen N, Sallis JF, De Bourdeaudhuij I. Neighborhood walkability and sedentary time in Belgian adults. Am J Prev Med 2010; 39: 25-32.

    3. Van Dyck D, Cerin E, Cardon G, Deforche B, Sallis JF, Owen N, De Bourdeaudhuij I. Physical activity as a mediator of the associations between neighborhood walkability and adiposity in Belgian adults. Health Place 2010; 16: 952-960.

    4. Van Cauwenberg J, De Bourdeaudhuij I, De Meester F, Van Dyck D, Salmon J, Clarys P, Deforche B. Relationship between the physical environment and physical activity in older adults. A systematic review. Health Place 2011; 17: 458-469.

    5. Van Dyck D, Cardon G, Deforche B, Giles-Corti B, Sallis JF, Owen N, De Bourdeaudhuij I. Environmental and psychosocial correlates of accelerometer-assessed and self-reported physical activity in Belgian adults. Int J Behav Med 2011; 18: 235-245.

    6. De Meester F, Van Dyck D, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Deforche B, Sallis JF, Cardon G. Active living neighborhoods: is neighborhood walkability a key element for Belgian adolescents. BMC Public Health 2012; 12: 7.

    7. Van Dyck D, Cerin E, Conway T, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Owen N, Kerr J, Cardon G, Frank LD, Saelens BE, Sallis JF. Perceived neighborhood environmental attributes associated with adults’ overall sitting and sitting during motorized transport: Findings from the USA, Australia and Belgium. Soc Sci Med 2012; 74: 1375-1384.

    8. Van Dyck D, Cerin E, Conway T, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Owen N, Kerr J, Cardon G, Frank LD, Saelens BE, Sallis JF. Perceived neighborhood environmental attributes associated with adults’ transport-related walking and cycling: Findings from the USA, Australia and Belgium. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2012; 9: 70.

    9. Van Dyck D, Cerin E, Conway T, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Owen N, Kerr J, Cardon G, Frank LD, Saelens BE, Sallis JF. Perceived neighborhood environmental attributes associated with adults’ recreational physical activity: Findings from the USA, Australia and Belgium. Health Place 2013; 19: 59-68.

    10. Van Dyck D, De Meester F, Cardon G, Deforche B, De Bourdeaudhuij I. Physical environmental attributes and active transportation: what about adults and adolescents living in the same neighborhoods? Am J Health Promot., in press

    11. Dewulf B, Neutens T, Van Dyck D, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Van de Weghe N. Correspondence between objective and perceived walking times to urban destinations: Influence of physical activity, neighbourhood walkability, and socio-demographics. Int J Health Geogr 2012; 11: 43.

     


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