Community Health and the Built Environment

For this project, a two-part investigation was conducted using geographic (objective-outsider) and social (subjective-insider) approaches in each of the four Alberta communities (City of Medicine Hat and Town of Redcliffe, North Central Edmonton, Town of Bonnyville, Town of St. Paul). Contextual factors identified through these approaches were used to inform the development and implementation of community-specific chronic disease prevention interventions. Ongoing, collaborative knowledge exchange was central to all of the project activities.

Geographic (objective-outsider) perspective: Place was captured through primary data collection and secondary data analysis strategies. Primary data collection involved direct observation of each community’s built environment. The observation tool was based on three existing tools: the Irvine-Minnesota Inventory served as the foundation, while the Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environmental Scan and the Pedestrian Environment Data Scan contributed additional rating items. Secondary data included responses to socio-demographic and health questions from national surveys (Canadian Community Health Survey; General Social Survey) and other research projects (Healthy Alberta Communities). Data analysis questions were generated in collaboration with partners to inform the community health programme goals. Analysis of primary and secondary data was conducted to identify association between the built environment, physical activity, healthy eating and general health outcomes. Geographic Information Systems were also used to map patterns in the built environment, risk factor and health outcome data to inform community level public health planning and decision-making.

Social (subjective-insider) perspective: To understand the social (subjective-insider) perspective photovoice was used. Photovoice allowed residents to identify and present, through photography, perceived opportunities and barriers to physical activity and healthy eating.

Community-based interventions: Analysis of the qualitative data captured the meaning go the community environment as described by community members, and was synthesized with the data collected through the objective observation to support the identification of community issues most appropriate for intervention. Project working groups, composed of research team members and community partners, used this information in the development of community-specific interventions.

Collaborative Knowledge Exchange: The community interventions were considered community-based participatory projects due to the continuous involvement of the working groups in all stages. Throughout the projects lifespan the community partners brought together decision-makers for the presentation of project results.

A full copy of the project results shared with community partners and decision-makers is available at www.chbeprojects.com

For more information about this project contact: Laura Nieuwendyk, Project Coordinator at laura.nieuwendyk@ualberta.ca

  • Dr. Candace NykiforukAssociate Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta (Principal Investigator)
  • Dr. Donald Schopflocher, Associate Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta (Co-Investigator)
  • Dr. Kim Raine, Professor, School of Public Health, Unviersity of Alberta (Co-Investigator)
  • Dr. Helen Vallianatos, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Alberta (Co-Investigator)
  • Dr. Ronald Plotnikoff, Professor, School of Education, University of Newcastle (Co-Investigator)
  • Dr. John Spence, Professor, Faculty of Physical Education and Recreation, University of Alberta (Co-Investigator)
  • Belon, A.P., Nieuwendyk, L.M., Vallianatos, H., & Nykiforuk, C.I.J. (2016). Perceived community environmental influences on eating behaviors: A Photovoice analysis. Social Science & Medicine, 171, 18-29. Full text available: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953616306037
  • Nieuwendyk, L.M., Belon, A.P., Vallianatos, H., Raine, K.D., Schopflocher, D., Spence, J.C., Plotnikoff, R.C., Nykiforuk, C.I. (2016). How perceptions of community environment influence health behaviours: using the Analysis Grid for Environments Linked to Obesity Framework as a mechanism for exploration. Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention in Canada, 36(9), 175-184. Full text available: http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/publicat/hpcdp-pspmc/36-9/ar-01-eng.php
  • Nykiforuk, C.I.J., McGetrick, J.A., Crick, K., & Johnson, J.A. (2016). Check the score: Field validation of Street Smart Walk Score in Alberta, Canada. Preventive Medicine Reports, 4, 532-539. Full text available: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2016.09.010
  • Belon, A.P., Nieuwendyk, L., Vallianatos, H., & Nykiforuk, C.I. (2014). How community environment shapes physical activity: perceptions revealed through the PhotoVoice method. Social Science & Medicine, 116 , 10-21. DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.06.027. Epub 2014 Jun 17. PubMed PMID: 24973570
  • Belon, A.P., Nieuwendyk, L.M., Vallianatos, H., & Nykiforuk, C.I.J. (2016). Community lenses revealing the role of sociocultural environment on physical activity, 30(3):92-100. DOI: 10.4278/ajhp.140428-QUAL-169. Full text available: http://ahp.sagepub.com/content/30/3/e92.full.pdf+html
  • Hammer, B., Vallianatos, H., Nykiforuk, C.I.J., & Nieuwendyk, L. (2015). Perceptions of healthy eating in four Alberta communities: a photovoice project. Agriculture and Human Values, 32:1, DOI: 10.1007/s10460-015-9583-1. Epub ahead of print Jan 23 2015
  • Schopflocher, D., VanSpronsen, E., Nykiforuk, C.I.J. (2014). Relating built environment to physical activity: two failures to replicate. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(2):1233-1249. doi: 10.3390/ijerph110201233. PubMed PMID: 24464234; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3945535.
  • Nykiforuk, C.I.J., Nieuwendyk, L.M., Mitha, S., & Hosler, I. (2012). Examining aspects of the built environment: an evaluation of a community walking map project. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 103(9): Suppl 3 (Canadian Evidence on Built Environment and Health): eS67-eS72. PubMed PMID: 23618093.
  • Schopflocher, D., VanSpronsen, E., Spence, J.C., Vallianatos, H., Raine, K.D., Plotnikoff, R., & Nykiforuk, C.I.J.^ (2012). Creating neighbourhood groupings based on built environment features to facilitate health promotion activities. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 103(9): Suppl 3 (Canadian Evidence on Built Environment and Health): eS61-eS66. PubMed PMID: 23618092.
  • Nykiforuk, C.I.J., Schopflocher, D., Vallianatos, H., Spence, J.C., Raine, K.D., Plotnikoff, R.C., VanSpronsen, E., & Nieuwendyk, L.M. (2013). Community Health and the Built Environment: examining place in a Canadian chronic disease prevention project. Health Promotion International, 28(2):257-268. doi: 10.1093/heapro/dar093. Epub 2012 Jan 6. PubMed PMID: 22227803.
  • Nykiforuk, C.I.J., Vallianatos, H., & Flaman, L. (2011). Photovoice as a method for revealing community perceptions of the built and social environment. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 10(2):103-124.
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Bonnyville Community Report. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Medicine Hat and Redcliff Community Report. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). North Central Edmonton Community Report. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). St. Paul Community Report. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Avenue communities walking map evaluation: Summary report. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for Walkable Edmonton – City of Edmonton and community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Medicine Hat and Redcliff bike rack evaluation: Summary report. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for the Coalition on Active and Alternate Transportation and community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Resident and non-resident perceptions of North Central Edmonton: Summary report. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Nykiforuk, C., Lai, J., & Flaman, L. (2010). Norwood School photovoice project: Sharing local knowledge through pictures and stories – final report. Prepared for: Faculty of Education, Associate Dean of Research and the Edmonton Public School Board.
  • Nykiforuk, C., Vallianatos, H., Hammer, B., & Flaman, L. (2010). Bonnyville: Sharing local knowledge through pictures and stories. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Nykiforuk, C., Vallianatos, H., Rawson, D., & Flaman, L. (2010). Medicine Hat and Redcliff: Sharing local knowledge through pictures and stories. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Nykiforuk, C., Vallianatos, H., Rawson, D., & Flaman, L. (2010). North Central Edmonton: Sharing local knowledge through pictures and stories. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Nykiforuk, C., Vallianatos, H., Hammer, B., & Flaman, L. (2010). St. Paul: Sharing local knowledge through pictures and stories. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Promoting unstructured free play in your community: A resource manual. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Promoting unstructured free play in your community: Games manual. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Promoting free play: A guide for parents. Edmonton, AB: Community Health and the Built Environment Project, School of Public Health, University of Alberta. Prepared for community circulation. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • Town of Bonnyville with the Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2011). Community Walking Map. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • City of Edmonton with the Community Health and the Built Environment Project Team (2010). Community Walking Map: The Avenue Communities (Alberta Avenue, Cromdale, Delton, Eastwood, Elmwood Park, Parkdale, Spruce Avenue, Westwood). Prepared as part of the ‘Communities on Foot Series’ led by Walkable Edmonton in partnership with local Community Leagues. Available at: http://www.chbeprojects.com
  • 2010-2012 Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Operating Grant – Innovations in Health Research (Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Donald Schopflocher)
  • 2007-2010 Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and Canadian Institutes of Health Research: Operating Grant – Built Environment, Obesity and Health Strategic Initiative
  • 2009 Killam Research Fund: Cornerstone Operating Grant, University of Alberta