The Relationship Between Environmental Exposures and Post-Stroke Physical Activity


      Post-stroke physical activity has widespread health benefits. Environmental exposures may shape post-stroke physical activity behavior. This study investigates the relationships between environmental exposures and post-stroke physical activity.


      Stroke survivors (n=374) from a cohort of Black and White adults with post-stroke accelerometer data (2009–2013) were eligible for this study. Participants’ home addresses were linked with secondary data to capture environmental characteristics, including annual density of neighborhood resources (e.g., parks, physical activity facilities, and intellectual stimulation destinations), 2010 neighborhood SES, 2010 neighborhood crime, and daily information on extremely cold days. Post-stroke light physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity were captured using accelerometers over a 7-day period. Linear regression and 2-part/hurdle models were used to estimate the relationship between the density of neighborhood resources with light physical activity and with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, respectively. Analyses were conducted in 2021.


      A 10% increase in the number of extremely cold days was associated with 6.37 fewer minutes of daily light physical activity (95% CI= −11.37, −1.37). A 1-SD increase in neighborhood SES was associated with greater odds (OR=1.10, 95% CI=1.02, 1.19) of doing any moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Among participants obtaining any moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, a 1-unit (count/km2) increase in destinations for intellectual stimulation was associated with 0.99 (95% CI=0.02, 1.97) more minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. All other environmental exposures were not associated with post-stroke light physical activity or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.


      Environmental exposures may facilitate physical activity participation among stroke survivors. This study found that weather, neighborhood SES, and proximity to destinations for intellectual stimulation were associated with physical activity over and above individual factors.
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