Walking and the Perception of Neighborhood Attributes Among U.S. Adults—2012

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The association between walking and environmental attributes depends on walking purpose. This study, based on a large survey of U.S. adults, examined the association between perceived neighborhood safety and built environment attributes, and walking for transportation and leisure.


Data were obtained on transportation and leisure-time walking, perceived neighborhood safety and built environment attributes, and demographic characteristics from the summer wave of the 2012 ConsumerStyles survey of 3951 U.S. adults. Associations were examined by demographic characteristics.


Seventy-five percent of respondents reported walking for either transportation (54%) or leisure (56%) in the past week, 59% reported no safety concern, and 36% reported absence of any built environment attribute of walkability nearby. Respondents with more education, and those who lived in metropolitan areas were more likely to report built environment attributes supportive of walking. All built environment attributes examined, as well as safety concern due to speeding vehicles, were associated with walking after adjustment for demographic characteristics.


Walking, particularly for transportation, is associated with many built environment attributes among U.S. adults. These attributes may be important to consider when designing and modifying the built environment of communities, especially those which are less walkable.

Paul is with the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion; Carlson and Fulton are with the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

Paul (vig5@cdc.gov) is corresponding author.