Neighborhood environmental factors influence physical activity in people with COPD

August 29, 2022

1 minute read


Disclosures: Koreny does not report any relevant financial information. Please see the study for relevant financial information from all other authors.

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Population density, length and steepness of pedestrian streets, and exposure to nitrogen dioxide were all associated with physical activity levels and exercise capacity in COPD patients living in densely populated areas. , the researchers reported.

“The ecological model of the determinants of physical activity suggests a major role for factors in the ‘environmental’ domain. Consistent with this notion, a series of studies have reported that environmental factors such as residential density or land use mix, noise or annoyance, and air pollution are associated with physical activity. in the general population, Marie Koreny, MSc, PhD, from the Barcelona Institute for Global Health, Spain, and colleagues wrote in Environmental research. “Thus, it is likely that such environmental factors may also influence the physical activity of patients with COPD.”

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The researchers evaluated 404 patients with mild to very severe COPD (mean age, 69 years; 85% male) from a multi-city study conducted in the Catalonia region of Spain. Measures included objective physical activity, experience of physical activity, and exercise capacity. Researchers estimated individual population density, length of pedestrian streets, terrain slope, and annual road traffic noise exposure, nitrogen dioxide exposure, and particulate exposure.

Participants walked an average of 7,524 steps per day during the study period. According to the data, higher population density was associated with 507 fewer steps, 2 more sedentary hours per day, and lower exercise capacity (-13 m per interquartile range) in multiple exposure models.

The researchers reported that 156 more steps and -0.1 less sedentary hours per day were related to the length of the walking street and that better exercise capacity (15 m per interquartile range) was related to a steeper slope.

Higher nitrogen dioxide exposure was associated with more sedentary time of 0.2 hours per day and greater difficulty in physical activity (-0.7 Clinic visit – PROactive physical activity in the score difficulty of COPD). However, particles and noise were not associated with physical activity or exercise capacity in this patient population, the researchers wrote.

“These neighborhood environmental factors should be considered in clinical encounters with patients and when developing urban design and transportation policies to promote physical activity in patients with chronic conditions,” write -they.