The neighborhood built environment can have a strong influence on physical activity levels, particularly walking for transport. In examining racial/ethnic differences in physical activity, one important and understudied group is South Asians. This study aims to describe the association between neighborhood walkability and walking for transport among South Asian men and women in the United States in the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) Study.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2014 using the baseline dataset of the MASALA study (N = 906). Mean age was 55 years old and 54% of the sample was male. Weekly minutes spent walking for transport was assessed using a questionnaire adapted from the Cross-Cultural Activity Participation Study. Neighborhood walkability was measured using Walk Score, a composite index of walkability.
After adjusting for covariates, with each 10-point increase in Walk Score, South Asian American men engaged in 13 additional minutes per week of walking for transport (P = .008). No association was observed between walkability and walking for transport in South Asian American women.
Results provide new evidence for how the effects of environmental influences on walking for transport may vary between South Asian men and women.