15,871 research outputs found

    The association between objective walkability, neighborhood socio-economic status, and physical activity in Belgian children

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    Background: Objective walkability is an important correlate of adults’ physical activity. Studies investigating the relation between walkability and children’s physical activity are scarce. However, in order to develop effective environmental interventions, a profound investigation of this relation is needed in all age groups. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between objective walkability and different domains of children’s physical activity, and to investigate the moderating effect of neighborhood socio-economic status in this relation. Methods: Data were collected between December 2011 and May 2013 as part of the Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study in children. Children (9–12 years old; n = 606) were recruited from 18 elementary schools in Ghent (Belgium). Children together with one of their parents completed the Flemish Physical Activity Questionnaire and wore an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days. Children’s neighborhood walkability was calculated using geographical information systems. Multilevel cross-classified modeling was used to determine the relationship between children’s PA and objectively measured walkability and the moderating effect of neighborhood SES in this relation. Results: In low SES neighborhoods walkability was positively related to walking for transportation during leisure time (β = 0.381 ± 0.124; 95% CI = 0.138, 0.624) and was negatively related to sports during leisure time (β = −0.245 ± 0.121; 95% CI = −0.482, −0.008). In high socio-economic status neighborhoods, walkability was unrelated to children’s physical activity. No relations of neighborhood walkability and neighborhood socio-economic status with cycling during leisure time, active commuting to school and objectively measured moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity were found. Conclusions: No univocal relation between neighborhood walkability and physical activity was found in 9–12 year old children. Results from international adult studies cannot be generalized to children. There is a need in future research to determine the key environmental correlates of children’s physical activity

    Relationship between neighborhood walkability and older adults' physical activity : results from the Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study in Seniors (BEPAS Seniors)

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    Background: Adequate knowledge on environmental correlates of physical activity (PA) in older adults is needed to develop effective health promotion initiatives. However, research in this age group is scarce and most existing studies were conducted in North America. The present study aimed to examine relationships between GIS-based neighborhood walkability and objective and self-reported PA in community-dwelling Belgian older adults. Furthermore, moderating effects of neighborhood income levels were investigated. Methods: The Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study (BEPAS) for Seniors is a cross-sectional study in older adults (>= 65 yrs) and was conducted between October 2010 and September 2012. Data from 438 older adults living in 20 neighborhoods across Ghent (Belgium) were analyzed. Stratification of selected neighborhoods was based upon objective walkability and neighborhood income. Participants wore an accelerometer during seven consecutive days to obtain objective levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Self-reported levels of transportation walking/cycling and recreational walking/cycling were assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (long, last 7 days version) adapted for the elderly. Multi-level regression analyses were conducted. Results: Findings showed a positive relationship between neighborhood walkability and weekly minutes of older adults' self-reported walking for transportation (B = 4.63 +/- 1.05; p < 0.001) and a negative relationship between walkability and accelerometer-derived low-light PA (B = -1.38 +/- 0.62; p = 0.025). Walkability was not related to any measure of recreational PA. A walkability x income interaction was found for accelerometer-derived MVPA (B = -1.826 +/- 1.03; p = 0.075), showing only a positive association between walkability and MVPA in low-income neighborhood residents. Conclusions: This was the first European study to examine walkability-PA relationships in older adults. These Belgian findings suggest that a high neighborhood walkability relates to higher levels of older adults' transport-related walking. As transport-related walking is an accessible activity for older adults and easy to integrate in their daily routine, policy makers and health promoters are advised to provide sufficient destinations and pedestrian-friendly facilities in the close vicinity of older adults' residences, so short trips can be made by foot. Neighborhood income moderated the relationship between walkability and objectively-measured MVPA. Increasing total MVPA levels in older adults should be a key topic in development of promotion initiatives and special attention should be paid to low-income neighborhood residents

    Analysis of Self-Reported Walking for Transit in a Sprawling Urban Metropolitan Area in the Western U.S.

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    Walkability is associated with increased levels of physical activity and improved health and sustainability. The sprawling design of many metropolitan areas of the western U.S., such as Las Vegas, influences their walkability. The purpose of this study was to consider sprawl characteristics along with well-known correlates of walkability to determine what factors influence self-reported minutes of active transportation. Residents from four neighborhoods in the Las Vegas Metropolitan Area, targeted for their high and low walkability scores, were surveyed for their perceptions of street-connectivity, residential-density, land-use mix, and retail–floor-area ratio and sprawl characteristics including distance between crosswalks, single-entry-communities, high-speed streets, shade, and access to transit. A Poisson model provided the best estimates for minutes of active transportation and explained 11.28% of the variance. The model that included sprawl characteristics resulted in a better estimate of minutes of active transportation compared to the model without them. The results indicate that increasing walkability in urban areas such as Las Vegas requires an explicit consideration of its sprawl characteristics. Not taking such design characteristics into account may result in the underestimation of the influence of sprawl on active transportation and may result in a missed opportunity to increase walking. Understanding the correlates of walkability at the local level is important in successfully promoting walking as a means to increase active transportation and improve community health and sustainability

    Walking builds community cohesion: Survey of two New Hampshire communities looks at social capital and walkability

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    This brief reports the results of a survey conducted in 2009 of approximately 2,000 households in Portsmouth and Manchester, New Hampshire, to examine the connection between walkability and social capital. Authors Shannon Rogers, Kevin Gardner, and Cynthia Carlson report that higher levels of social capital are found in areas that are perceived to be more walkable, as measured by the number of places people can walk to in their community. In addition, walkability is influenced by concerns of safety, access, time, and health and by physical characteristics such as proximity, scale, and aesthetics. Given the link between walkability and greater social capital, and in turn the link between social capital and numerous positive outcomes, refitting communities with greater walkability can have short- and longer-term payoffs. The authors conclude that more walkable communities are healthier communities, and as the research in the brief shows, residents in them are more connected to one another not only by sidewalks but also through the social networks and social capital they form when they live in communities that encourage gathering and meeting face-to-face

    The moderating effect of psychosocial factors in the relation between neighborhood walkability and children’s physical activity

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    BACKGROUND: The study aimed to investigate if psychosocial factors moderate the association between objective walkability and different domains of children's physical activity (PA). A second aim of the study was to investigate the direct associations between psychosocial factors and children's PA. Based on previous literature, it was hypothesized that walkability would be more strongly related to PA among children with negative psychosocial profiles. METHODS: Data were collected between December 2011 and May 2013 as part of the Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study in children (BEPAS-child). In total, data from 494 children and one of their parents were included in the study. Children wore an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days and together with one of their parents, they completed the Flemish Physical Activity Questionnaire. Parents filled out a questionnaire concerning their child's psychosocial factors toward PA (i.e. parental attitude toward their child's PA, parental social norm toward their child's PA, parental support, friend support, children's self-efficacy, and perceived benefits and barriers toward sports and PA). Neighborhood walkability was calculated using geographical information systems (GIS). Multilevel cross-classified analyses were conducted. RESULTS: Of the 42 investigated interactions between neighborhood walkability and psychosocial factors in relation to PA among children, only 7 significant interactions were found of which 3 were only significant among children from low-income neighborhoods. Parental support and self-efficacy were positive correlates of children's PA in high- and low-income neighborhoods independent of the level of walkability, but effect sizes were small. CONCLUSIONS: The hypothesis that walkability would be more strongly related to PA among children with negative psychosocial profiles could not be confirmed and in general, psychosocial factors and objective walkability did not interact in relation to children's PA. Focusing on parental support and self-efficacy towards PA can possibly cause small effects on children's PA in both high- and low-walkable neighborhoods, as well as in high- and low-income neighborhoods

    Walkable Gettysburg— How Pedestrian Friendly is the Borough of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania?

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    Walkability is a measure of how easily pedestrians can reach a variety of destinations via walking. Greater walkability has been linked to several benefits, including improvements in human health, economic stimulus, and improved air quality. We surveyed 37 blocks in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to record the presence of 13 design factors such as street trees and pedestrian oriented amenities that have been shown to encourage walking. These results were then compared with the Walk Score from walkscore.com, a common measurement tool of walkability. Based on the surveys, we calculated a design quality score (DQI) for each block. There was no correlation between DQI and Walk Score. The highest scores for aesthetics were recorded near Gettysburg College, the highest scores for ease of use were recorded around the traffic circle at the center of town, and the highest scores for safety were recorded near the traffic circle and the College. We believe that this discrepancy can be attributed to the focus of walkscore.com on the proximity of a location to various destination while our DQI score considered aesthetics, ease of use, and safety. Based on the results of this study, we recommend that the borough of Gettysburg invest in alternatives to automobile transport such as bicycle oriented amenities in order to increase walkability

    Interactions between neighborhood social environment and walkability to explain Belgian older adults' physical activity and sedentary time

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    This study examined associations between neighborhood social factors and physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) in older adults. Furthermore, possible moderating effects of neighborhood walkability were explored. Data from 431 community-dwelling Belgian older adults (>= 65 years) were analyzed. Neighborhood social factors included measures of neighboring, social trust and cohesion and social diversity. Neighborhood walkability was measured objectively. Outcome measures were self-reported weekly minutes of domain-specific walking and TV viewing, and accelerometer-assessed weekly minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and overall SB. A higher frequency of talking to neighbors was associated with higher levels of self-reported walking for transport and for recreation. Moderation analyses showed that only in highly-walkable neighborhoods, higher social diversity of the neighborhood environment was associated with more transport walking; and talking to neighbors and social interactions among neighbors were negatively associated with overall SB and television viewing, respectively. Findings suggest that a combination of a favorable neighborhood social and physical environment are important to promote older adults' PA and limit SB

    The Digital Life of Walkable Streets

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    Walkability has many health, environmental, and economic benefits. That is why web and mobile services have been offering ways of computing walkability scores of individual street segments. Those scores are generally computed from survey data and manual counting (of even trees). However, that is costly, owing to the high time, effort, and financial costs. To partly automate the computation of those scores, we explore the possibility of using the social media data of Flickr and Foursquare to automatically identify safe and walkable streets. We find that unsafe streets tend to be photographed during the day, while walkable streets are tagged with walkability-related keywords. These results open up practical opportunities (for, e.g., room booking services, urban route recommenders, and real-estate sites) and have theoretical implications for researchers who might resort to the use social media data to tackle previously unanswered questions in the area of walkability.Comment: 10 pages, 7 figures, Proceedings of International World Wide Web Conference (WWW 2015

    City sustainability: the influence of walkability on built environments

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    A vital issue in community is providing an easy access to the transport network for different range of community members such as; very young, old, children and disable people. The functions that walking and walkable area can be support includes community involvement, health, meeting and gathering and recreation which has positive effects on sustainability and vice versa. Walkability is the basis of sustainable city. The same as bicycling, walking can be known as ‘green’ type of transportation which except crowding reduction and also has low level of environmental influence, energy conserving without any air and noise pollution. It can be more than a purely useful type of travel to shopping, school and work. Also have both social and recreational importance. This research aims at supporting urban design knowledge and practice and contributing to the broader field of “walkability” by refining the methods and measures used to analyse the relationship between walking behaviour and physical environment and its impacts on city sustainability. In order to integrate knowledge from theories and research on walkability from different fields and of different perspectives, it is crucial to first build a broader view and a more comprehensive understanding of how the built environment influences walking. What has been done during the earlier part of this project, and will be shown in this research, is to provide a better understanding of the complexity of the relationship between the built environment and walking and also the complexity that lies in both of these entities, the urban form and walking activity

    The association between Belgian older adults' physical functioning and physical activity : what is the moderating role of the physical environment?

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    BACKGROUND: Better physical functioning in the elderly may be associated with higher physical activity levels. Since older adults spend a substantial part of the day in their residential neighborhood, the neighborhood physical environment may moderate associations between functioning and older adults' physical activity. The present study investigated the moderating role of the objective and perceived physical environment on associations between Belgian older adults' physical functioning and transport walking, recreational walking, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. METHODS: Data from 438 older adults were included. Objective physical functioning was assessed using the Short Physical Performance Battery. Potential moderators included objective neighborhood walkability and perceptions of land use mix diversity, access to recreational facilities, access to services, street connectivity, physical barriers for walking, aesthetics, crime-related safety, traffic speeding-related safety, and walking infrastructure. Transport and recreational walking were self-reported, moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was assessed through accelerometers. Multi-level regression analyses were conducted using MLwiN to examine two-way interactions between functioning and the environment on both walking outcomes. Based on a previous study where environment x neighborhood income associations were found for Belgian older adults' moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, three-way functioning x environment x income interactions were examined for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. RESULTS: Objectively-measured walkability moderated the association between functioning and transport walking; this positive association was only present in high-walkable neighborhoods. Moreover, a three-way interaction was observed for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Only in high-income, high-walkable neighborhoods, there was a positive association between functioning and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. No functioning x walkability interactions were observed for recreational walking, and none of the perceived environmental variables moderated the positive association between physical functioning and the physical activity outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: For older adults with better physical functioning, living in a high-walkable neighborhood could be beneficial to engage in more transport walking. Living in high-income, high-walkable neighborhoods and having better functioning might also be beneficial for more engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. This might suggest a protective role of neighborhood walkability for preventing declining physical functioning and consequently decreasing physical activity levels in older adults. However, given the cross-sectional design of the present study, this suggestion needs to be confirmed through longitudinal assessment investigating over-time changes in the observed associations
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