More Active Living-oriented County and Municipal Zoning is Associated with Increased Adult Leisure Time Physical Activity—United States, 2011
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Although zoning is recognized for its role in facilitating healthy communities, no study has examined whether active living-oriented zoning codes are associated with adult leisure time physical activity (PA). This study sought to fill this gap and hypothesized that adult leisure time PA would be greater in communities with more progressive zoning code reforms and more active living-oriented zoning. Zoning codes for 1,617 county and municipal jurisdictions located in 30 states (covering ~40% of the U.S. population) were evaluated for code reform zoning and 11 active living markers. County-aggregated zoning measures were created for linking with five adult PA behaviors obtained from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System controlling for individual and county sociodemographics. Zoning elements most associated with adult PA included requirements for mixed use, active and passive recreation, bike parking/street furniture, and bike-pedestrian trails/paths. This study provides new insights as to the role that zoning can play in facilitating adult PA.