This study examined the associations between walking behavior and the perceived environment and personal factors among older adults. Sixty participants age 65 yr or older (mean 77 ± 7.27, range 65–92) wore pedometers for 3 consecutive days. Perceived environment was assessed using the Neighborhood Environment Walk-ability Scale (abbreviated version). Physical function was measured using the timed chair-stands test. The mean number of steps per day was 5,289 steps (SD = 4,029). Regression analyses showed a significant association between personal factors, including physical function (relative rate = 1.05, p < .01) and income (RR = 1.43, p < .05) and the average daily number of steps taken. In terms of perceived environment, only access to services was significantly related to walking at the univariate level, an association that remained marginally significant when controlling for personal characteristics. These results suggest that among this sample of older adults, walking behavior was more related to personal and intrinsic physical capabilities than to the perceived environment.
de Melo, Porter, and Ready are with the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, and Menec, the Dept. of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.