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Cheryl Kelly, Min Lian, Jim Struthers and Anna Kammrath

Background:

There are few studies that aimed to find a relationship between transportation-related physical activity and neighborhood socioeconomic condition using a composite deprivation index. The purpose of this study is to assess the relationship of neighborhood walkability and socioeconomic deprivation with percentage of adults walking to work.

Methods:

A walkability index and a socioeconomic deprivation index were created at block group-level. The outcome variable, percentage of adults who walk to work was dichotomized as < 5% of the block group walking to work low and ≥ 5% of the block group walking to work as high and applied logistic regression to examine the association of walkability and socioeconomic deprivation with walking to work.

Results:

Individuals in the most walkable neighborhoods are almost 5 times more likely to walk to work than individuals in the least walkable neighborhoods (OR = 4.90, 95% CI = 2.80–8.59). After adjusting for neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation, individuals in the most walkable neighborhoods are almost 3 times more likely to walk to work than individuals in the least walkable neighborhoods (OR = 2.98, 95% CI = 1.62–5.49).

Conclusions:

Walkability (as measured by the walkability index) is a very strong indicator of walking to work even after controlling for neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage.