Salvo D, Sarmiento OL, Reis RS, et al. (2017). Where Latin Americans are physically active, and why does it matter? Findings from the IPEN-adult study in Bogota, Colombia; Cuernavaca, Mexico; and Curitiba, Brazil. Prev Med. 103(Suppl), S27-S33.
Latin America (LA) has a unique structural, political, cultural and social environment. This study aimed to identify the places where Latin American adults are physically active; and to determine the association of using public- and restricted-access places with physical activity (PA). We used data from the International PA Environment Network study in Bogota, Colombia (n = 1000, accelerometry = 249); Cuernavaca, Mexico (n = 677, accelerometry = 652); and Curitiba, Brazil (n = 697, accelerometry = 331) (2010 − 2011). Walking and moderate-to-vigorous PA for leisure were measured with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Overall PA and PA within 10-minute bouts were measured with accelerometers. Participants reported use of public- and restricted-access places for PA. Mixed-effects regression models were used to determine the association of using public- and restricted-access places with PA. The streets were the most frequently-reported place for PA, and walking was the most common PA in the studied places. ‘Informal’, non-exercise-or-sports places (e.g., shopping malls) ranked high for use for PA in Bogota and Cuernavaca. In Curitiba, use of ‘formal’ places for sports/exercise (e.g., gyms) was more prevalent. Using public-access places was directly related to walking for leisure in all cities, and to additional PA outcomes in Bogota and Cuernavaca. In Cuernavaca and Curitiba, using restricted-access places was also associated with PA. Our study highlights the importance of public-access places for PA in LA. In some contexts, places for social interaction may be as important for PA as places for exercise/sport. Strategies increasing the availability, accessibility and quality of these places may effectively promote PA in LA.