Are Neighborhood Environmental Attributes More Important for Older Than for Younger Adults’ Walking? Testing Effect Modification by Age

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Older adults are often considered more vulnerable to environmental factors than are younger adults. We examined whether the associations of objectively measured environmental attributes (Walk Score; street connectivity) with walking for transport differed between younger- (25–44 years), middle- (45–64 years), and older-aged (65–84 years) adults, using a large Australian sample of 14,656 people. Walk Score and street connectivity were similarly associated with walking (any; 30+ min/day) in all age groups. Contrary to commonly held views, the study did not find any evidence suggesting that older adults may be more sensitive to their environment to get out and walk than are younger adults, at least for the environmental attributes examined in this study. Further research is needed to investigate if there are particular environmental factors that hinder older adults from being active.

Cole is with the University of the Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia. Koohsari is with the Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokorozawa, Japan. Koohsari and Owen are with the Baker Heart & Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Carver and Sugiyama are with the Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Owen and Sugiyama are also with Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Address author correspondence to Takemi Sugiyama at takemi.sugiyama@acu.edu.au.
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