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A spatial analysis of access to physical activity infrastructure and healthy food in regional Tasmania


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Jayasinghe, S ORCID: 0000-0001-8805-385X, Flies, EJ ORCID: 0000-0002-1013-0330, Soward, R, Kendal, D ORCID: 0000-0003-2816-1722, Kilpatrick, M ORCID: 0000-0001-6039-9154, Holloway, TP, Patterson, KAE ORCID: 0000-0003-0663-4154, Ahuja, KDK ORCID: 0000-0002-0323-4692, Hughes, R ORCID: 0000-0002-5811-7960, Byrne, NM ORCID: 0000-0001-5310-6640 and Hills, AP ORCID: 0000-0002-7787-7201 2021 , 'A spatial analysis of access to physical activity infrastructure and healthy food in regional Tasmania' , Frontiers in Public Health, vol. 9 , pp. 1-13 , doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.773609.

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Prevalence of physical inactivity and obesity continues to increase in regional areas suchas North-West (NW) Tasmania and show no signs of abating. It is possible that limitedaccess to physical activity infrastructure (PAI) and healthier food options are exacerbatingthe low levels of habitual physical activity and obesity prevalence in these communities.Despite a burgeoning research base, concomitant exploration of both physical activityand food environments in rural and regional areas remain scarce. This research evaluatedaccess (i.e., coverage, variety, density, and proximity) to physical activity resourcesand food outlets in relation to socioeconomic status (SES) in three NW Tasmaniancommunities. In all three study areas, the PAI and food outlets were largely concentratedin the main urban areas with most recreational tracks and natural amenities located alongthe coastline or river areas. Circular Head had the lowest total number of PAI (n = 43)but a greater proportion (30%) of free-to-access outdoor amenities. There was markedvariation in accessibility to infrastructure across different areas of disadvantage within andbetween sites. For a considerable proportion of the population, free-to-access naturalamenities/green spaces and recreational tracks (73 and 57%, respectively) were beyond800 m from their households. In relation to food accessibility, only a small proportion ofthe food outlets across the region sells predominantly healthy (i.e., Tier 1) foods (∼6, 13,and 10% in Burnie, Circular Head and Devonport, respectively). Similarly, only a smallproportion of the residents are within a reasonable walking distance (i.e., 5–10 min walk)from outlets. In contrast, a much larger proportion of residents lived close to food outletsselling predominantly energy-dense, highly processed food (i.e., Tier 2 outlets). CircularHead had at least twice as many Tier 1 food stores per capita than Devonport and Burnie(0.23 vs. 0.10 and 0.06; respectively) despite recording the highest average distance(4.35 and 5.66 km to Tier 2/Tier 1 stores) to a food outlet. As such, it is possible thatboth food and physical activity environment layouts in each site are contributing to theobesogenic nature of each community.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Jayasinghe, S and Flies, EJ and Soward, R and Kendal, D and Kilpatrick, M and Holloway, TP and Patterson, KAE and Ahuja, KDK and Hughes, R and Byrne, NM and Hills, AP
Keywords: obesity, physical activity, food environment, spatial analysis, NW Tasmania, regional Australia
Journal or Publication Title: Frontiers in Public Health
Publisher: Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN: 2296-2565
DOI / ID Number: 10.3389/fpubh.2021.773609
Copyright Information:

Copyright © 2021 Jayasinghe, Flies, Soward, Kendal, Kilpatrick, Holloway, Patterson, Ahuja, Hughes, Byrne and Hills. . This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License ( The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

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