TABLE 3-2 Examples of Environmental Influences on Physical Activity, by Type of Environment

Size or Level of the Environment

Type of Environment





Microenvironments (e.g., behavioral settings such as homes, schools, and communities)

  • Sidewalks and footpaths

  • Cycle paths

  • Public transportation

  • Street lights

  • Recreational facilities and clubs

  • Cost of gym memberships

  • Budget allocations for recreation centers or walking and cycling paths

  • Funding for improved public transport

  • Sponsorship of physical activity-related health promotion

  • Influences on household income and time expenditures

  • Family rules about television watching

  • Family rules about household chores

  • Restrictions on automobile traffic

  • Restrictions on bicycle or pedestrian traffic

  • Zoning for protection of open spaces

  • Building codes

  • “Ethos” or climate related to physical activity and inactivity in the home, school, and neighborhood

  • Role models for physical activity and inactivity in the home, at school, and in the neighborhood

Macroenvironments (e.g. societal sectors such as food and agriculture, education, medical, government, public health or health care)

  • Automobile industry

  • Public transport funding and subsidies

  • State-level policies on physical education in schools

  • Mass media influences on physical activity and inactivity

  • General consumer trends in patterns of physical activity and inactivity

SOURCE: Adapted from Swinburn et al., 1999.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement