Understanding the Demographic Differences in Neighborhood Walking Supports

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Information about how presence and usefulness of neighborhood supports for walking differs by demographic characteristics can help guide community strategies to promote walking.


Reported presence and usefulness of neighborhood supports (shops, transit stops, sidewalks, parks, interesting things to look at, well-lit at night, low crime rate, and cars following speed limit) were examined in 3973 U.S. adults who completed the 2014 SummerStyles survey.


Percentage reporting neighborhood supports as present ranged from 25.3% (SE = 0.8) for interesting things to 55.8% (SE = 1.0) for low crime rate. Percentage who reported a support as useful ranged from 24.6% (SE = 1.4) for transit stops to 79.0% (SE = 1.1) for sidewalks among those with the support. This percentage ranged from 13.4% (SE = 0.8) for transit stops to 52.8% (SE = 1.1) for shops among those without the support. One or more demographic differences were observed for the presence of each support, and the presence of all supports differed by education and metro status. Demographic patterns were less clear when examining usefulness and patterns often differed by support type and presence.


Presence and usefulness of neighborhood supports for walking can differ by type and demographic characteristics. Recognizing these difference can help communities plan and implement strategies to promote walking.

The authors are with the Physical Activity and Health Branch, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA.

Carlson (clo3@CDC.GOV) is corresponding author.