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Hiroko Shimura, Elisabeth Winkler and Neville Owen

Background:

We examined associations of individual, psychosocial and environmental characteristics with 4-year changes in walking among middle-to-older aged adults; few such studies have employed prospective designs.

Methods:

Walking for transport and walking for recreation were assessed during 2003–2004 (baseline) and 2007–2008 (follow-up) among 445 adults aged 50–65 years residing in Adelaide, Australia. Logistic regression analyses examined predictors of being in the highest quintile of decline in walking (21.4 minutes/day or more reduction in walking for transport; 18.6 minutes/day or more reduction in walking for recreation).

Results:

Declines in walking for transport were related to higher level of walking at baseline, low perceived benefits of activity, low family social support, a medium level of social interaction, low sense of community, and higher neighborhood walkability. Declines in walking for recreation were related to higher level of walking at baseline, low self-efficacy for activity, low family social support, and a medium level of available walking facilities.

Conclusions:

Declines in middle-to-older aged adults’ walking for transport and walking for recreation have differing personal, psychosocial and built-environment correlates, for which particular preventive strategies may be developed. Targeted campaigns, community-based programs, and environmental and policy initiatives can be informed by these findings.

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Hiroko Shimura, Takemi Sugiyama, Elisabeth Winkler and Neville Owen

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.