Article Text

other Versions

Download PDFPDF
Creating active environments across the life course: Thinking outside “the square”
  1. Billie Giles-Corti (billie.giles-corti{at}
  1. The University of Western Australia, Australia
    1. Abby King
    1. Stanford University School of Medicine, United States


      The built environment and physical activity agenda provides a unique opportunity for public health, physical activity and planning researchers to be front and centre of a movement aimed at creating healthier and more sustainable environments. However, in order to optimize environments that encourage physical activity across the life course, we argue that researchers in this field to think beyond their 'square' i.e., the target group, setting and physical activity behavior with which they work. We suggest that researchers working in this field need to better understand systems theory to appreciate that a change to one part of a complex system, can positively and negatively impact other parts of the system. An understanding of systems theory would help minimise unintended negative consequences to other population sub-groups or other types of physical activity from the implementation of our research findings. By so doing, a more comprehensive set of research, practice and program-related activities may emerge that will advance physical activity research and practice and, in so doing, improve population health across the life course.

      Statistics from

      Request Permissions

      If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.