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Mall walking has been a popular physical activity for decades. However, little is known about why mall managers support these programs or why adults choose to walk. Our study aim was to describe mall walking programs from the perspectives of walkers, managers, and leaders. Twenty-eight walkers, 16 walking program managers, and six walking program leaders from five states participated in a telephone or in-person semi-structured interview (N = 50). Interview guides were developed using a social-ecological model. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed thematically. All informants indicated satisfaction with their program and environmental features. Differences in expectations were noted in that walkers wanted a safe, clean, and social place whereas managers and leaders felt a need to provide programmatic features. Given the favorable walking environments in malls, there is an opportunity for public health professionals, health care organizations, and providers of aging services to partner with malls to promote walking.
Belza is with the Health Promotion Research Center and School of Nursing, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Miyawaki is with the Graduate College of Social Work, University of Houston, Houston, TX. Allen is with the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, Brown School, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO. King is with the Center for Behavioral Health Research and Services, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, AK. Marquez and Janicek are with the Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, College of Applied Health Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL. Jones is with the Department of Orthopaedics, Division of Physical Therapy, and Injury Control Research Center, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV. Rosenberg is with the Health Promotion Research Center, University of Washington, Seattle, WA; and Group Health Research Institute, Seattle, WA. Brown is with the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Physical Activity and Health Branch, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.