University of Oulu

Puhakka, S.; Lankila, T.; Pyky, R.; Kärmeniemi, M.; Niemelä, M.; Kangas, K.; Rusanen, J.; Kangas, M.; Näyhä, S.; Korpelainen, R. Satellite Imaging-Based Residential Greenness and Accelerometry Measured Physical Activity at Midlife—Population-Based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 Study. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 9202.

Satellite imaging-based residential greenness and accelerometry measured physical activity at midlife : population-based Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 study

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Author: Puhakka, Soile1,2,3; Lankila, Tiina1,3; Pyky, Riitta1,4,5;
Organizations: 1Department of Sports and Exercise Medicine, Oulu Deaconess Institute Foundation sr, PO Box 365, 90100 Oulu, Finland
2Center for Life Course Health Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
3The Geography Research Unit, Faculty of Science, University of Oulu, PO Box 3000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
4Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
5Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics, and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
6Natural Resources Institute Finland, Economics and Society, University of Oulu, PO Box 413, 90014 Oulu, Finland
7Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research, University of Oulu, PO Box 5000, 90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-02-02


Background: Recently, the importance of light physical activity (LPA) for health has been emphasized, and residential greenness has been positively linked to the level of LPA and a variety of positive health outcomes. However, people spend less time in green environments because of urbanization and modern sedentary leisure activities.

Aims: In this population-based study, we investigated the association between objectively measured residential greenness and accelerometry measured physical activity (PA), with a special interest in LPA and gender differences.

Methods: The study was based on the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 (5433 members). Participants filled in a postal questionnaire and underwent clinical examinations and wore a continuous measurement of PA with wrist-worn Polar Active Activity Monitor accelerometers for two weeks. The volume of PA (metabolic equivalent of task or MET) was used to describe the participant’s total daily activity (light: 2–3.49 MET; moderate: 3.5–4.99 MET; vigorous: 5–7.99 MET; very vigorous: ≥8 MET). A geographic information system (GIS) was used to assess the features of each individual’s residential environment. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was used for the objective quantification of residential greenness. Multiple linear regression and a generalized additive model (GAM) were used to analyze the association between residential greenness and the amount of PA at different intensity levels.

Results: Residential greenness (NDVI) was independently associated with LPA (unadjusted β = 174; CI = 140, 209) and moderate physical activity (MPA) (unadjusted β = 75; CI = 48, 101). In the adjusted model, residential greenness was positively and significantly associated with LPA (adjusted β = 70; CI = 26, 114). In men, residential greenness was positively and significantly associated with LPA (unadjusted β = 224; CI = 173, 275), MPA (unadjusted β = 75; CI = 48, 101), and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (unadjusted β = 89; CI = 25, 152). In women, residential greenness was positively related to LPA (unadjusted β = 142; CI = 96, 188) and inversely associated with MPA (unadjusted β = −22; CI = −36, −8), vigorous/very vigorous physical activity (VPA/VVPA) (unadjusted β = −49; CI = −84, −14), and MVPA (unadjusted β = −71; CI = −113, −29). In the final adjusted models, residential greenness was significantly associated only with the amount of LPA in men (adjusted β = 140; CI = 75, 204).

Conclusions: Residential greenness was positively associated with LPA in both genders, but the association remained significant after adjustments only in men. Residential greenness may provide a supportive environment for promoting LPA.

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Series: International journal of environmental research and public health
ISSN: 1661-7827
ISSN-E: 1660-4601
ISSN-L: 1661-7827
Volume: 17
Issue: 24
Article number: 9202
DOI: 10.3390/ijerph17249202
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3141 Health care science
519 Social and economic geography
Funding: This study was funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture. NFBC1966 received financial support from the University of Oulu [grant number 24000692], Oulu University Hospital [grant number 24301140], and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) [grant number 539/2010 A31592]. The study has been financially supported by the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture [grant numbers OKM/86/626/2014, OKM/43/626/2015, OKM/17/626/2016, OKM/54/626/2019], and the Northern Ostrobothnia Hospital District. The funders played no role in designing the study, collecting, analyzing, and interpreting the data, or writing the manuscript.
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (