Walking to Work: The Roles of Neighborhood Walkability and Socioeconomic Deprivation

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health

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.

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Kelly (cheryl.k.buening@kp.org) is with the Institute for Health Research, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, CO. Lian and Struthers are with the Dept of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. Kammrath is with the Dept of Behavioral Science, Saint Louis University School of Public Health, St. Louis, MO.