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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 18(22)2021 11 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1512344


Active transportation (AT) is widely viewed as an important target for increasing participation in aerobic physical activity and improving health, while simultaneously addressing pollution and climate change through reductions in motor vehicular emissions. In recent years, progress in increasing AT has stalled in some countries and, furthermore, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created new AT opportunities while also exposing the barriers and health inequities related to AT for some populations. This paper describes the results of the December 2019 Conference on Health and Active Transportation (CHAT) which brought together leaders from the transportation and health disciplines. Attendees charted a course for the future around three themes: Reflecting on Innovative Practices, Building Strategic Institutional Relationships, and Identifying Research Needs and Opportunities. This paper focuses on conclusions of the Research Needs and Opportunities theme. We present a conceptual model derived from the conference sessions that considers how economic and systems analysis, evaluation of emerging technologies and policies, efforts to address inclusivity, disparities and equity along with renewed attention to messaging and communication could contribute to overcoming barriers to development and use of AT infrastructure. Specific research gaps concerning these themes are presented. We further discuss the relevance of these themes considering the pandemic. Renewed efforts at research, dissemination and implementation are needed to achieve the potential health and environmental benefits of AT and to preserve positive changes associated with the pandemic while mitigating negative ones.

COVID-19 , Exercise , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Transportation
Health Place ; 71: 102659, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1397344


Most of the existing literature concerning the links between built environment and COVID-19 outcomes is based on aggregate spatial data averaged across entire cities or counties. We present neighborhood level results linking census tract-level built environment and active/sedentary travel measures with COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality rates in King County Washington. Substantial variations in COVID-19 outcomes and built environment features existed across neighborhoods. Using rigorous simulation-assisted discrete outcome random parameter models, the results shed new lights on the direct and indirect connections between built environment, travel behavior, positivity, hospitalization, and mortality rates. More mixed land use and greater pedestrian-oriented street connectivity is correlated with lower COVID-19 hospitalization/fatality rates. Greater participation in sedentary travel correlates with higher COVID-19 hospitalization and mortality whereas the reverse is true for greater participation in active travel. COVID-19 hospitalizations strongly mediate the relationships between built environment, active travel, and COVID-19 survival. Ignoring unobserved heterogeneity even when higher resolution smaller area spatial data are harnessed leads to inaccurate conclusions.

Built Environment , COVID-19 , Hospitalization , Humans , SARS-CoV-2 , Walking
Sustain Cities Soc ; 73: 103089, 2021 Oct.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1267922


Compact walkable environments with greenspace support physical activity and reduce the risk for depression and several obesity-related chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Recent evidence confirms that these chronic diseases increase the severity of COVID-19 infection and mortality risk. Conversely, denser transit supportive environments may increase risk of exposure to COVID-19 suggesting the potential for contrasting chronic versus infectious disease impacts of community design. A handful of recent studies have examined links between density and COVID-19 mortality rates reporting conflicting results. Population density has been used as a surrogate of urban form to capture the degree of walkability and public transit versus private vehicle travel demand. The current study employs a broader range of built environment features (density, design, and destination accessibility) and assesses how chronic disease mediates the relationship between built and natural environment and COVID-19 mortality. Negative and significant relationships are observed between built and natural environment features and COVID-19 mortality when accounting for the mediating effect of chronic disease. Findings underscore the importance of chronic disease when assessing relationships between COVID-19 mortality and community design. Based on a rigorous simulation-assisted random parameter path analysis framework, we further find that the relationships between COVID-19 mortality, obesity, and key correlates exhibit significant heterogeneity. Ignoring this heterogeneity in highly aggregate spatial data can lead to incorrect conclusions with regards to the relationship between built environment and COVID-19 transmission. Results presented here suggest that creating walkable environments with greenspace is associated with reduced risk of chronic disease and/or COVID-19 infection and mortality.