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Nicola W. Burton, Gavin Turrell and Brian Oldenburg

Background.

This study assessed item nonresponse (INR) in a population-based mail survey of physical activity (PA).

Methods.

A questionnaire was mailed to a random sample, with a 57% response rate (n = 2532). The magnitude and type of PA INR and the association with sociodemographic variables was examined using logistic regression.

Results.

Among survey respondents, 28% had incomplete PA data; 11% missed 1 item, 11% missed 2 items, and 5% missed all 3 items. Respondents missing 3 items tended to be female, less educated, low income, in poor health, and current smokers. The walking item was missed by 8% of respondents, and 18% and 23% missed the vigorous-intensity and moderate-intensity PA items respectively. These groups were sociodemograpically different from those without INR. Incomplete PA data was also associated with sociodemographic INR.

Conclusions.

Mail surveys may underrepresent individuals insufficiently active for health, in particular those of low socioeconomic position.

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Nicola W. Burton, Gavin Turrell, Brian Oldenburg and James F. Sallis

Introduction:

This study assessed the relative contributions of psychological, social, and environmental variables to walking, moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity.

Methods:

A questionnaire was mailed to a random sample (57% response rate). Analyses used a backwards elimination logistic regression model, removing and replacing individual variables, and adjusting for age, gender, household composition, and education (N = 1827).

Results:

The sociodemographic and correlate variables collectively accounted for 43% of the variation in total activity, 26% of walking, 22% of moderate-intensity activity and 45% of vigorous-intensity activity (Nagelkerke R2). Individually, the correlates accounted for 0.0 to 4.0% of unique variation, with habit, efficacy, and support having higher values. Physical health, discouragement, competition, and time management contributed more to vigorous-intensity activity. Anticipated benefits of social interactions and weight management contributed more to moderate-intensity activity. Neighborhood aesthetics contributed more to walking.

Conclusion:

Walking, moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity might be associated with different correlates.

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Jerome N. Rachele, Vincent Learnihan, Hannah M. Badland, Suzanne Mavoa, Gavin Turrell and Billie Giles-Corti

Background: There is growing urgency for higher quality evidence to inform policy. This study developed geographic information system spatial measures based on land use and transport policies currently used in selected Australian states to assess which, if any, of these measures were associated with walking for transport. Methods: Overall, 6901 participants from 570 neighborhoods in Brisbane, Australia, were included. Participants reported their minutes of walking for transport in the previous week. After a review of state-level land use and transport policies relevant to walking for transport across Australia, 7 geographic information system measures were developed and tested based on 9 relevant policies. Data were analyzed using multilevel multinomial logistic regression. Results: Greater levels of walking for transport were associated with more highly connected street networks, the presence of public transport stops, and having at least 2 public transport services per hour. Conversely, neighborhoods with shorter cul-de-sac lengths had lower levels of walking for transport. There was no evidence of associations between walking for transport and street block lengths less than 240 m or traffic volumes. Conclusions: These findings highlight the need for urban design and transport policies developed by governments to be assessed for their impact on transport-related physical activity.

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Venurs H.Y. Loh, Jerome N. Rachele, Wendy J. Brown, Fatima Ghani and Gavin Turrell

Background: Residents of more socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods are more likely to report poorer physical function, although the reasons for this remain unknown. It is possible that neighborhood-level perceptions of safety from crime contribute to this relationship through its association with walking for recreation. Methods: Data were obtained from the fourth wave (collected in 2013) of the HABITAT (How Areas in Brisbane Influence HealTh and AcTivity) multilevel longitudinal study of middle- to older-aged adults (46–74 y) residing in 200 neighborhoods in Brisbane, Australia. The data were analyzed separately for men (n = 2190) and women (n = 2977) using multilevel models. Results: Residents of the most disadvantaged neighborhoods had poorer physical function, perceived their neighborhoods to be less safe from crime, and do less walking for recreation. These factors accounted for differences in physical function between disadvantaged and advantaged neighborhoods (24% for men and 25% for women). Conclusion: This study highlights the importance of contextual characteristics, through their associations with behaviors, that can have in explaining the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and physical function. Interventions aimed at improving neighborhood safety integrated with supportive environments for physical activity may have positive impact on physical function among all socioeconomic groups.

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Ernest Boakye-Dankwa, Anthony Barnett, Nancy A. Pachana, Gavin Turrell and Ester Cerin

To examine associations between perceived destination accessibility within different distances from home and self-reported overall amounts of walking for different purposes among older adults (aged ≥ 65 years) in Brisbane, Australia (N = 793) and Hong Kong, China (N = 484). Perceived neighborhood destination accessibility types were derived from latent class analysis using comparable measures of perceived distance to 12 destinations from epidemiological studies in the two cities. Associations of perceived destination accessibility with measures of within-neighborhood walking were also estimated in Hong Kong participants. Better perceived destination accessibility was positively associated with the likelihood of walking in Brisbane participants only. Perceived destination accessibility within a short distance from home (5-min walk) was negatively related to the amount of within-neighborhood walking for transport in Hong Kong residents who walked. Our findings suggest that providing moderate-to-high, but not extreme, levels of destination accessibility may be optimal for the promotion of walking in older community dwellers.

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Gavin Turrell, Michele Haynes, Martin O’Flaherty, Nicola Burton, Katrina Giskes, Billie Giles-Corti and Lee-Ann Wilson

Background:

Further development of high quality measures of neighborhood perceptions will require extensions and refinements to our existing approaches to reliability assessment. This study examined the test-retest reliability of perceptions of the neighborhood environment by socioeconomic status (SES).

Methods:

Test and retest surveys were conducted using a mail survey method with persons aged 40 to 65 years (n = 222, 78.2% response rate). SES was measured using the respondent’s education level and the socioeconomic characteristics of their neighborhood of residence. Reliability was assessed using intraclass correlations (ICC) estimated with random coefficient models.

Results:

Overall, the 27 items had moderate-to-substantial reliability (ICC = 0.41−0.74). Few statistically significant differences were found in ICC between the education groups or neighborhoods, although the ICCs were significantly larger among the low SES for items that measured perceptions of neighborhood greenery, interesting things to see, litter, traffic volume and speed, crime, and rowdy youth on the streets.

Conclusion:

For the majority of the items, poor reliability and subsequent exposure misclassification is no more or less likely among low educated respondents and residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods. Estimates of the association between neighborhood perceptions and physical activity therefore are likely to be similarly precise irrespective of the respondent’s socioeconomic background.