Physical activity in deprived communities in London: examining individual and neighbourhood-level factors

Paul Watts, Gemma Phillips, Mark Petticrew, Richard Hayes, Christian Bottomley, Ge Yu, Elena Schmidt, Patrick Tobi, Derek Moore, Caroline Frostick, Karen Lock, Adrian Renton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


INTRODUCTION: The objectives of this study were to examine relationships between neighbourhood-level and individual-level characteristics and physical activity in deprived London neighbourhoods.

METHODS: In 40 of the most deprived neighbourhoods in London (ranked in top 11% in London by Index of Multiple Deprivation) a cross-sectional survey (n = 4107 adults aged > = 16 years), neighbourhood audit tool, GIS measures and routine data measured neighbourhood and individual-level characteristics. The binary outcome was meeting the minimum recommended (CMO, UK) 5 × 30 mins moderate physical activity per week. Multilevel modelling was used to examine associations between physical activity and individual and neighbourhood-level characteristics.

RESULTS: Respondents living more than 300 m away from accessible greenspace had lower odds of achieving recommended physical activity levels than those who lived within 300 m; from 301-600 m (OR = 0.7; 95% CI 0.5-0.9) and from 601-900 m (OR = 0.6; 95% CI 0.4-0.8). There was substantial residual between-neighbourhood variance in physical activity (median odds ratio = 1.7). Other objectively measured neighbourhood-level characteristics were not associated with physical activity levels.

CONCLUSIONS: Distance to nearest greenspace is associated with meeting recommended physical activity levels in deprived London neighbourhoods. Despite residual variance in physical activity levels between neighbourhoods, we found little evidence for the influence of other measured neighbourhood-level characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere69472
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2013


  • Adult
  • Architectural Accessibility
  • Data Collection
  • Demography
  • Family Characteristics
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities
  • London
  • Mental Health
  • Motor Activity
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Sports
  • Vulnerable Populations

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