University of Oulu

Raza, A., Pulakka, A., Hanson, L.L.M. et al. Distance to sports facilities and low frequency of exercise and obesity: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 22, 2036 (2022).

Distance to sports facilities and low frequency of exercise and obesity : a cross-sectional study

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Author: Raza, Auriba1; Pulakka, Anna2,3; Hanson, Linda L. Magnusson1;
Organizations: 1Department of Psychology, Stress Research Institute, Stockholm University, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden
2Research Unit of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 8000, 90014, Oulu, Finland
3Department of Public Health and Welfare, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Health Security, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, P.O. Box 30, 00271, Helsinki, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.8 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Springer Nature, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-06-16


Background: Little research has investigated the associations between proximity to physical activity facilities and behavior-related health and the majority have focused on proximity from home address. We add to the literature by examining proximity of these facilities to work and home address and including a wide range of physical activity facilities. We assess the associations for proximity of physical activity facilities from home and work address with self-reported frequency of exercise and obesity.

Methods: Our analytical sample of 7358 participants was from the 2018 wave of the Swedish Longitudinal Occupational Survey of Health. We used logistic binomial regression adjusting for age, sex, education, civil status, individual socioeconomic status, neighborhood socioeconomic status, number of children under 12 years of age, work strain, and chronic disease.

Results: Longer distance from home to paid outdoor and paid indoor physical activity facilities was associated with low frequency of exercise (fully adjusted Relative Risk for both 1.01, 95% CI 1.01–1.02). Associations of any or free outdoor facility with low frequency of exercise were not robust. Findings also indicated associations between long distance from workplace to any and paid outdoor facility and low frequency of exercise. Results for obesity were in the similar direction, however, these were not statistically significant.

Conclusions: Increased distance of paid outdoor and paid indoor physical activity facilities from home and of paid outdoor facilities from work was associated with low frequency of exercise. Longitudinal and larger studies are needed to confirm our findings, particularly regarding obesity.

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Series: BMC public health
ISSN: 1471-2458
ISSN-E: 1471-2458
ISSN-L: 1471-2458
Volume: 22
Article number: 2036
DOI: 10.1186/s12889-022-14444-7
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3142 Public health care science, environmental and occupational health
315 Sport and fitness sciences
Funding: Open access funding provided by Stockholm University. This study was funded by Forskningsrådet för hälsa, arbetsliv och välfärd (Forte), Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare (project 2018–00479). Auriba Raza was supported by this funding. The funder has no role in the study design; data collection; analysis or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to submit the paper for publication.
Dataset Reference: The datasets generated and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to ethical issues. However, we agree to allow the journal to review our data if requested, given that such a request can be granted by Stockholm University based on relevant legislation at the time of the request. Corresponding author should be contacted for the data requests.
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2022. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.