Neighborhood Environment and Physical Activity Among Older Adults: Do the Relationships Differ by Driving Status?

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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Some attributes of neighborhood environments are associated with physical activity among older adults. This study examined whether the associations were moderated by driving status. Older adults from neighborhoods differing in walkability and income completed written surveys and wore accelerometers (N = 880, mean age = 75 years, 56% women). Neighborhood environments were measured by geographic information systems and validated questionnaires. Driving status was defined on the basis of a driver’s license, car ownership, and feeling comfortable to drive. Outcome variables included accelerometer-based physical activity and self-reported transport and leisure walking. Multilevel generalized linear regression was used. There was no significant Neighborhood Attribute × Driving Status interaction with objective physical activity or reported transport walking. For leisure walking, almost all environmental attributes were positive and significant among driving older adults but not among nondriving older adults (five significant interactions at p < .05). The findings suggest that driving status is likely to moderate the association between neighborhood environments and older adults’ leisure walking.

Ding is with the Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Camperdown, NSW, Australia. Sallis, Norman, Kerr, Conway, and Cain are with the Dept. of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, CA. Hovell and Hofstetter are with the Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Frank is with the School of Community and Regional Planning, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Saelens is with Psychiatry and Behavioral Health, Seattle Children’s Hospital, Seattle, WA. King is with Health Research and Policy, Stanford University, Stanford, CA. Address author correspondence to Ding Ding at