Investigating the relationships between the built environment, the climate, walkability and physical activity in the Arabian Peninsula: The case of Bahrain
Built environments have a profound effect on public health as they provide the background on which individuals make decisions to address their mobility, resulting in the adoption of varying degrees of physical activity. This is a logical adjunct to the natural environment that may or may not be conducive to physical activity (PA). Because microclimates influence the use of outdoor space, the built environment is crucial in creating conditions that are amenable for PA. A sample of 1359 participants declared activity levels during summer and winter over two years, via the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. The results, presented in this paper: a) estimate that 39% of all physical activity takes place outdoors, denoting dependence on indoor environments; b) test the measurement of PA in a standard, expedited way, allowing for seasonal monitoring; c) measure the seasonal difference between outdoor walking, thus quantifying the role of the weather. The study is the first on the topic in the Kingdom of Bahrain. It creates awareness for the relationship between built environment and public health, establishes directions and a foundation for future research, and baselines that may influence policymaking.