This study examined the relationship between physical activity and self-rated health in older adults at both the neighborhood level and the resident level.
A multilevel design was used that involved neighborhoods as the primary sampling unit and residents nested within each neighborhood. Residents (N = 582, mean age = 73.99 years, SD = 6.26) from 56 neighborhoods in Portland, Oregon, were surveyed on neighborhood physical activity and health status.
Multilevel path analysis showed a positive relationship between physical activity and health status at the neighborhood level. In addition, perceptions of neighborhood social cohesion, proximity to physical activity facilities, safety for walking, and importance of physical activity involvement, were positively related to high levels of physical activity. At the resident level, education and walking efficacy were positively associated with physical activity.
The results provide evidence that neighborhood-level physical activity is positively linked to neighborhood-level self-rated health in older adults.
The authors are with the Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, OR 97403.