Relationships Between the Built Environment and Walking and Weight Status Among Older Women in Three U.S. States

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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There are few studies of built environment associations with physical activity and weight status among older women in large geographic areas that use individual residential buffers to define environmental exposures. Among 23,434 women (70.0 ± 6.9 yr; range = 57–85) in 3 states, relationships between objective built environment variables and meeting physical activity recommendations via walking and weight status were examined. Differences in associations by population density and state were explored in stratified models. Population density (odds ratio [OR] =1.04 [1.02, 1.07]), intersection density (ORs = 1.18–1.28), and facility density (ORs = 1.01–1.53) were positively associated with walking. Density of physical activity facilities was inversely associated with overweight/obesity (OR = 0.69 [0.49, 0.96]). The strongest associations between facility density variables and both outcomes were found among women from higher population density areas. There was no clear pattern of differences in associations across states. Among older women, relationships between accessible facilities and walking may be most important in more densely populated settings.

Troped, Starnes, and Tamura were with the Dept. of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN at the time of this work. Troped is now with University of Massachusetts Boston, and Starnes, with California Polytechnic State University. Puett is with the Maryland Inst. of Applied Environmental Health, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD. Cromley is with the Dept. of Community Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT. James, Melly, and Laden are with the Depts. of Environmental Health and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA. Ben-Joseph is with the Dept. of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.