Investigation of environmental impacts on university student’s physical activity participation by crowd sourcing method in mobile technology

P. W. C. Lau, Wang J, W. Y. J. Huang, R. Maddison, H. J. Wang

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paperpeer-review


Background: Physical inactivity has been identified as one of the leading global risk factors for morbidity and mortality. However, only 8.4% of Hong Kong youths meet the recommendations for physical activity (PA) of 60 minutes/day. Environmental factors have been found to be related to PA in youths. Despite research evidence in the past few decades, it is largely unclear how youths interact with the environment and what the barriers and facilitators are to their participation in PA. Given the high ownership and use of smartphones by youths, mobile crowdsourcing offers an ideal opportunity to better understand the impacts of environmental barriers & facilitators on youth’s PA participation.

Objective: To investigate the environmental impacts on university student’s PA participation and stage of changes by crowd sourcing method in mobile technology.

Methods: 88 university students (63.6% males) aged 19-24 years were recruited through social media. Participants were requested to download the application (Movn ( It is a smart-app that tracks the time people spend in PA. It allows people to set daily PA goals and can prompt them to meet their goals. Once downloaded, data are passively collected using native features from the phone, including accelerometer and GPS sensors. All participant data, including mobile sensor data was anonymized and stored on a secure server. Participant’s environmental barriers/facilitators to PA was assessed by the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) (Saelens & Sallis, 2002). The questionnaire content included: types of residences, stores, facilities, access to services, streets, places for walking and cycling, neighborhood surroundings, traffic hazards, neighborhood safety, parking, cul-de-sacs, hilliness, physical barriers, and social interaction while walking (5-Likert scale from none (1) to very important All). Results: Participants’ time spent in PA was 455.36 min per day on average (male: 455.6 min, female: 454.78 min). In the past 30 days, 67.2% of the participants had 0 day that achieved daily PA goal (30 min daily), and 13.1% of them had 1-5 days that achieved daily PA goal. Regarding PA stage of changes, 80.7% had intention to do more PA in the next 6 months. The scores of participant’s environmental barriers/constraints to PA were 495.01 in residential density, 3.60 in land use mix-diversity, 3.26 in land use mix-access, 2.96 in street connectivity, 2.87 in walking facilities, 2.84 in aesthetics, and 2.71 in traffic safety, respectively. Male (3.53) had lower score in land use mix-diversity than that in female (3.73), but had higher score in traffic safety that that in female (male: 2.78, female: 2.59). The regression analysis demonstrated no significant association between all study environmental factors and PA.

Conclusion: The present study suggests that there is no significant impact of environmental factors on university student’s PA using crowd source information.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2020
Event25th European College of Sports Science Anniversary Congress, ECSS 2020 - Online
Duration: 28 Oct 202030 Oct 2020


Congress25th European College of Sports Science Anniversary Congress, ECSS 2020
Internet address


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