INTRODUCTION: Only international studies can provide the full variability of built environments and accurately estimate effect sizes of relations between contrasting environments and health-related outcomes. The aims of the International Physical Activity and Environment Study of Adolescents (IPEN Adolescent) are to estimate the strength, shape and generalisability of associations of the community environment (geographic information systems (GIS)-based and self-reported) with physical activity and sedentary behaviour (accelerometer-measured and self-reported) and weight status (normal/overweight/obese).
METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The IPEN Adolescent observational, cross-sectional, multicountry study involves recruiting adolescent participants (ages 11-19 years) and one parent/guardian from neighbourhoods selected to ensure wide variations in walkability and socioeconomic status using common protocols and measures. Fifteen geographically, economically and culturally diverse countries, from six continents, participated: Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hong Kong SAR, India, Israel, Malaysia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Portugal, Spain and USA. Countries provided survey and accelerometer data (15 countries), GIS data (11), global positioning system data (10), and pedestrian environment audit data (8). A sample of n=6950 (52.6% female; mean age=14.5, SD=1.7) adolescents provided survey data, n=4852 had 4 or more 8+ hours valid days of accelerometer data, and n=5473 had GIS measures. Physical activity and sedentary behaviour were measured by waist-worn ActiGraph accelerometers and self-reports, and body mass index was used to categorise weight status.
ETHICS AND DISSEMINATION: Ethical approval was received from each study site's Institutional Review Board for their in-country studies. Informed assent by adolescents and consent by parents was obtained for all participants. No personally identifiable information was transferred to the IPEN coordinating centre for pooled datasets. Results will be communicated through standard scientific channels and findings used to advance the science of environmental correlates of physical activity, sedentary behaviour and weight status, with the ultimate goal to stimulate and guide actions to create more activity-supportive environments internationally.