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Barriers to physical activity in North Shore City

Study to find the barriers to physical activity in North Shore City July 8, 2004

What is it about our city that keeps people from getting physical? That is the question to be asked in a three-year study being carried out by North Shore City Council, Auckland University of Technology and Harbour Sport.

The study, which is being funded by SPARC's (Sport and Recreation New Zealand) Active Communities Investment Sheme, will turn the spotlight on North Shore City residents' physical activity, or lack of it. It will examine how much impact the environment has on people's level of physical activity.

North Shore City Mayor George Wood says the study will allow the council to identify ways it can encourage more residents to get moving on a regular basis.

"New Zealanders are, on the whole, becoming less physically active and that has major implications for our city and our country as a whole. We need to find ways to encourage people to exercise more regularly whether that is through formal sports involvement or more informal activities such as walking," says the Trans Tasman Masters Games gold medallist.

"What we hope to do with this study is understand why people aren't more active - what stops them going for a walk along one of our beaches, walking to the shops instead of driving, or even getting involved in regular sporting activities." "We can then work on making the city more 'activity-friendly'", he says.

SPARC has granted $327,000, over three years, to fund the study.

One of the goals of the study is to develop a directory identifying the location of sport and recreation sites and facilities in the city, using the council's web-based geographical information system.

"We are hoping that by making it easier for people to find out how and where they can exercise in a way that suits them, we can encourage more lifelong activity," Mr Wood says.

Once a model for the interactive web-based directory is developed it could be adapted to be used in other parts of New Zealand.

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