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  • Author: Meghan Winters x
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Anna M. Chudyk, Meghan Winters, Erin Gorman, Heather A. McKay and Maureen C. Ashe

The authors investigated the use of Google Earth’s Street View option to audit the presence of built environment features that support older adults’ walking. Two raters conducted virtual (Street View) and in-the-field audits of 48 street segments surrounding urban and suburban assisted living sites in metropolitan Vancouver, BC, Canada. The authors determined agreement using absolute agreement. Their findings indicate that Street View may identify the presence of features that promote older adults’ walking, including sidewalks, benches, public washrooms, and destinations. However, Street View may not be as reliable as in-the-field audits to identify details associated with certain items, such as counts of trees or street lights; presence, features, and height of curb cuts; and sidewalk continuity, condition, and slope. Thus, the appropriateness of virtual audits to identify microscale built environment features associated with older adults’ walking largely depends on the purpose of the audits—specifically, whether the measurer seeks to capture highly detailed features of the built environment.

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Samantha M. Gray, Peggy Chen, Lena Fleig, Paul A. Gardiner, Megan M. McAllister, Joseph H. Puyat, Joanie Sims-Gould, Heather A. McKay, Meghan Winters and Maureen C. Ashe

Background: Physical activity confers many health benefits to older adults, and adopting activity into daily life routines may lead to better uptake. The purpose of this study was to test the effect of a lifestyle intervention to increase daily physical activity in older women through utilitarian walking and use of public transportation. Methods: In total, 25 inactive women with mean age (SD) of 64.1 (4.6) years participated in this pilot randomized controlled trial [intervention (n = 13) and control (n = 12)]. Seven-day travel diaries (trips per week) and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (minutes per week) were collected at baseline, 3, and 6 months. Results: At 3 months, intervention participants reported 9 walking trips per week and 643.5 minutes per week of active transportation, whereas control participants reported 4 walking trips per week and 49.5 minutes per week of active transportation. Adjusting for baseline values, there were significant group differences favoring Everyday Activity Supports You for walking trips per week [4.6 (0.5 to 9.4); P = .04] and active transportation minutes per week [692.2 (36.1 to 1323.5); P = .05]. At 6 months, significant group differences were observed in walking trips per week [6.1 (1.9 to 11.4); P = .03] favoring the intervention (9 vs 2 trips per week). Conclusion: Given these promising findings, the next step is to test Everyday Activity Supports You model’s effectiveness to promote physical activity in older women within a larger study.