The article reports on a multilevel analysis conducted to examine change in neighborhood walking activity over a 12-month period in a community-based sample of 28 neighborhoods of 303 older adults age 65 and over. The study employed a multilevel (residents nested within neighborhoods) and longitudinal (4 repeated measures over 1 year) design and a multilevel analysis of change and predictors of change in neighborhood walking activity. Results indicated a significant neighborhood effect, with neighborhood-level walking characterized by a downward trajectory over time. Inclusion of baseline variables using selected perceived neighborhood-level social- and physical-environment measures indicated that neighborhoods with safe walking environments and access to physical activity facilities had lower rates of decline in walking activity. The findings provide preliminary evidence of neighborhood-level change and predictors of change in walking activity in older adults. They also suggest the importance of analyzing change in physical activity in older adults from a multilevel or macrolevel framework.
Li and Fisher are with the Oregon Research Institute, 1715 Franklin Blvd, Eugene, OR 97403. Brownson is with the Saint Louis University School of Public Health, St. Louis, MO.