Pollution, Health, and the Moderating Role of Physical Activity Opportunities

George B. Cunningham, Pamela Wicker, Brian P. McCullough
2020 International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health  
Air and water pollution have detrimental effects on health, while physical activity opportunities have a positive relationship. The purpose of this study was to explore whether physical activity opportunities moderate the relationships among air and water pollution, and measures of health. Aggregate data were collected at the county level in the United States (n = 3104). Variables included the mean daily density of fine particle matter (air pollution), reported cases of health-related drinking
more » ... h-related drinking water violations (water pollution), subjective ratings of poor or fair health (overall health), the number of physically and mentally unhealthy (physical and mental health, respectively), and the percentage of people living in close proximity to a park or recreation facility (access to physical activity). Air and water pollution have a significant positive effect on all measures of residents' poor health, while physical activity opportunities only have a negative effect on overall health and physical health. Access to physical activity only moderates the relationship between air pollution and all health outcomes. Since physical activity behavior can be more rapidly changed than some causes of pollution, providing the resident population with better access to physical activity can represent an effective tool in environmental health policy.
doi:10.3390/ijerph17176272 pmid:32872245 fatcat:sq5xbeoxenhxfhnaowtyan3rjm