High Neighborhood Walkability Mitigates Declines in Middle-to-Older Aged Adults’ Walking for Transport

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Neighborhood walkability shows significant positive relationship with residents’ walking for transport in cross-sectional studies. We examined prospective relationships of neighborhood walkability with the change in walking behaviors over 4 years among middle-to-older aged adults (50–65 years) residing in Adelaide, Australia.

Methods:

A baseline survey was conducted during 2003–2004, and a follow-up survey during 2007–2008. Walking for transport and walking for recreation were assessed at both times among 504 adults aged 50–65 years living in objectively determined high- and low-walkable neighborhoods. Multilevel linear regression analyses examined the associations of neighborhood walkability with changes over 4 years in walking for transport and walking for recreation.

Results:

On average, participants decreased their time spent in walking for transport (–4.1 min/day) and for recreation (–3.7 min/day) between the baseline and 4-year follow-up. However, those living in high-walkable neighborhoods showed significantly smaller reduction (adjusted mean change: –1.1 min/day) in their time spent in walking for transport than did those living in low-walkable neighborhoods (–6.7 min/day). No such statistically-significant differences were found with the changes in walking for recreation.

Conclusions:

High-walkable neighborhoods may help middle-to-older aged adults to maintain their walking for transport.

Shimura is with the Dept of Physical and Health Education, Graduate School of Education, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan. Sugiyama, Winkler, and Owen are with the Cancer Prevention Research Centre, School of Population Health, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.