As demonstrated in many earlier studies, the qualities of physical environment have great impacts on physical activity (PA) behavior. However, studying individual built-environment variables often produces contradictory effects between studies. To overcome this, we composed multivariate environment types using principal component analysis that takes notice of the inter-correlations between physical-environment variables. To get a realistic view of the places children and adolescents visit in their daily life, we used mapping methodology in which children themselves deﬁned their important places. Based on 16 built-environment variables, six built-environment types were composed around these places.
We found that walking and cycling were most prominent in residential environments and least common in mixed-use business districts. Areas with big commercial buildings as well as green environments had the highest proportions of car use. Most places, in general, were visited with friends, but most typically areas with big commercial buildings and mixed-use business districts were reached in the company of friends. Relatively many places were visited alone in residential areas.
Urban planning, active transportation, GIS-analysis, built environment, health promotion