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How does a hilly urban environment influence daily physical activity in obese individuals?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 20:29 authored by Nguyen, DMT, Lecoultre, V, Andrew HillsAndrew Hills, Schultz, Y

BACKGROUND: Increases in physical activity (PA) are promoted by walking in an outdoor environment. Along with walking speed, slope is a major determinant of exercise intensity, and energy expenditure. The hypothesis was that in free-living conditions, a hilly environment diminishes PA to a greater extent in obese (OB) when compared with control (CO) individuals.

METHODS: To assess PA types and patterns, 28 CO (22 ± 2 kg/m²) and 14 OB (33 ± 4 kg/m²) individuals wore during an entire day 2 accelerometers and 1 GPS device, around respectively their waist, ankle and shoulder. They performed their usual PA and were asked to walk an additional 60 min per day.

RESULTS: The duration of inactivity and activity with OB individuals tended to be, respectively, higher and lower than that of CO individuals (P = .06). Both groups spent less time walking uphill/downhill than on the level (20%, 19%, vs. 61% of total walking duration, respectively, P < .001). However OB individuals spent less time walking uphill/downhill per day than CO (25 ± 15 and 38 ± 15 min/d, respectively, P < 0.05) and covered a shorter distance per day (3.8 km vs 5.2 km, P < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: BMI and outdoor topography should also be considered when prescribing extra walking in free-living conditions.


Publication title

Journal of physical activity & health










School of Health Sciences


Human Kinetics Publishers

Place of publication

United States

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the health sciences

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