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Sports facilities in Madrid explain the relationship between neighbourhood economic context and physical inactivity in older people, but not in younger adults: a case study


Background Neighbourhood characteristics may contribute to differences in physical inactivity.

Purpose To evaluate whether the availability of sports facilities helps explain the differences in physical inactivity according to the economic context of the neighbourhood.

Methods 6607 participants representative of the population aged 16–74 years, resident in Madrid (Spain) in 2005, were analysed. Using ORs calculated by multilevel logistic regression, the association between per capita income of the neighbourhood of residence and physical inactivity was estimated, after adjusting for age, population density, individual socioeconomic characteristics and the availability of green spaces. The analysis was repeated after further adjustment for the availability of sports facilities to determine if this reduced the magnitude of the association.

Results Residents in the neighbourhoods with the lowest per capita income had the highest OR for the prevalence of physical inactivity. In participants aged 16–49 years, after adjusting for the availability of sports facilities, the magnitude of the OR in the poorest neighbourhoods with respect to the richest neighbourhoods increased in men (from 2.22 to 2.35) and declined by 13% in women (from 2.13 to 1.98). In contrast, in the population aged 50–74 years, this adjustment reduced the magnitude of the OR by 21% in men (from 2.00 to 1.80) and by 53% in women (from 2.03 to 1.48).

Conclusions The poorest neighbourhoods show the highest prevalence of physical inactivity. The availability of sports facilities explains an important part of this excess prevalence in participants aged 50–74 years, but not in younger individuals.

  • Environmental Health
  • Social Epidemiology
  • Physical Activity

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