ENABLE London (Examining Neighbourhood Activities in Built Living Environments in London)

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Summary

Few natural experiments have examined the impact of the built environment on physical activity (PA).  The 2012 London Olympic Games Athletes’ Village (renamed East Village) will provide social, intermediate and market-based accommodation.  This offers a unique opportunity to assess the impact of a rapidly changing built environment designed to encourage health and active living on the PA patterns of residents.

The ENABLE London study (PI C. Owen, St Georges, London) is a controlled longitudinal study of 1200 families to establish whether PA levels in families relocating into East Village show a sustained increase when compared with families living outside East Village.  Families who apply to live in East Village social and affordable homes are recruited before a decision on their accommodation bid is made.  Participants have assessments of objectively measured PA and body composition in their current place of residence and will be reassessed one year later, either in East Village (intervention group) or in their original place of residence (control group).

The primary analysis will measure changes in PA occurring in intervention and control groups.  We will examine whether change in PA levels relate to use of the local environment, and (if so) which environmental components are important.  The East Village development offers an important opportunity for a natural experiment.  While the opportunity is unique, the results will be generalisable to other urban building projects and should inform future evidence-based urban planning.

Website:  http://www.enable.sgul.ac.uk/

Publications:

Owen CG et al. (2014). Will moving into social and affordable housing in East Village, London, UK, increase family physical activity levels? Evaluation of a natural experiment. Lancet 384, Special Issue, S59. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(14)62185-1

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