Built Environment and Walking Behavior Among Brazilian Older Adults: A Population-Based Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Understanding the built environment influence on specific domains of walking is important for public health interventions to increase physical activity levels among older adults.

Purpose:

The purpose was to investigate the association between built environment characteristics and walking among older adults.

Methods:

A population-based study was performed in 80 census tracts in Florianópolis, Brazil, including 1,705 older adults (60+ years old). Walking was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Built environment characteristics were assessed through a geographic information system. All analyses were conducted through a multilevel logistic regression.

Results:

Individuals living in neighborhoods with a higher population density (odds ratio [OR]: 2.19; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.40–3.42), with a higher street connectivity (OR: 1.85; 95% CI, 1.16–2.94), a higher sidewalk proportion (OR: 1.77; 95% CI, 1.11–2.83), and paved streets (medium tertile: OR: 1.61, 95% CI, 1.04–2.49; highest tertile: OR: 2.11; 95% CI, 1.36–3.27) were more likely to walk for transportation. Regarding walking for leisure, only 2 predictors were associated, area income (OR: 1.48; 95% CI, 1.04–2.12) and street density (OR: 1.47; 95% CI, 1.02–2.10).

Conclusions:

Improving the neighborhood built environment is an important step for achieving higher levels of walking in the elderly population in a middle-income country.

Weber Corseuil Giehl, Schneider, and d’Orsi are with the Dept of Public Health, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil. Hallal is with the Dept of Epidemiology, Universidade Federal de Pelotas, Pelotas, Brazil. Weber Corseuil is with the Dept of Energy Engineering, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

(mwcorseuil@gmail.com)