Neighborhood walkability and the walking behavior of Australian adults

Owen, Neville, Cerin, Ester, Leslie, Eva, du Toit, Lorinne, Coffee, Neil, Frank, Lawrence D., Bauman, Adrian E., Hugo, Graeme, Saelens, Brian E. and Sallis, James F. 2007, Neighborhood walkability and the walking behavior of Australian adults, American journal of preventive medicine, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 387-395, doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2007.07.025.

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Title Neighborhood walkability and the walking behavior of Australian adults
Author(s) Owen, Neville
Cerin, Ester
Leslie, Eva
du Toit, Lorinne
Coffee, Neil
Frank, Lawrence D.
Bauman, Adrian E.
Hugo, Graeme
Saelens, Brian E.
Sallis, James F.
Journal name American journal of preventive medicine
Volume number 33
Issue number 5
Start page 387
End page 395
Publisher Elsevier Inc
Place of publication New York, N. Y.
Publication date 2007-11
ISSN 0749-3797
Summary Background
The physical attributes of residential neighborhoods, particularly the connectedness of streets and the proximity of destinations, can influence walking behaviors. To provide the evidence for public health advocacy on activity-friendly environments, large-scale studies in different countries are needed. Associations of neighborhood physical environments with adults’ walking for transport and walking for recreation must be better understood.

Walking for transport and walking for recreation were assessed with a validated survey among 2650 adults recruited from neighborhoods in an Australian city between July 2003 and June 2004, with neighborhoods selected to have either high or low walkability, based on objective measures of connectedness and proximity derived from geographic information systems (GIS) databases. The study design was stratified by area-level socioeconomic status, while analyses controlled for participant age, gender, individual-level socioeconomic status, and reasons for neighborhood self-selection.

A strong independent positive association was found between weekly frequency of walking for transport and the objectively derived neighborhood walkability index. Preference for walkable neighborhoods moderated the relationship of walkability with weekly minutes, but not the frequency of walking for transport—walkability was related to higher frequency of transport walking, irrespective of neighborhood self-selection. There were no significant associations between environmental factors and walking for recreation.

Associations of neighborhood walkability attributes with walking for transport were confirmed in Australia. They accounted for a modest but statistically significant proportion of the total variation of the relevant walking behavior. The physical environment attributes that make up the walkability index are potentially important candidate factors for future environmental and policy initiatives designed to increase physical activity.

Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.amepre.2007.07.025
Field of Research 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 970111 Expanding Knowledge in the Medical and Health Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2007, American journal of preventive medicine
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Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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