Advertisement

Neighborhood Walkability and the Walking Behavior of Australian Adults

      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.

      Method

      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.

      Results

      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.

      Conclusions

      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.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Bauman A.
        • Bellew B.
        • Vita P.
        • Brown W.
        • Owen N.
        Getting Australia active: Best practice for the promotion of physical activity.
        National Public Health Partnership, Melbourne2002
        • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (USDHHS)
        Physical activity and health: A report of the Surgeon General.
        USDHHS, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hyattsville MD1996
        • Hayashi T.
        • Tsumura K.
        • Suematsu C.
        • Okada K.
        • Fujii S.
        • Endo G.
        Walking to work and the risk of hypertension in men: The Osaka health survey.
        Ann Intern Med. 1999; 131: 21-26
        • Manson J.E.
        • Hu F.B.
        • Rich-Edwards J.W.
        • et al.
        A prospective study of walking as compared with vigorous exercise in the prevention of coronary heart disease in women.
        N Engl J Med. 1999; 341: 650-658
        • Cole R.
        • Leslie E.
        • Bauman A.
        • Donald M.
        • Owen N.
        Sociodemographic variations in walking for transport and for recreation or exercise among adult Australians.
        J Phys Activity Health. 2006; 3: 164-178
        • Rafferty A.P.
        • Reeves M.J.
        • McGhee H.B.
        Physical activity patterns among walkers and compliance with public health recommendations.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002; 34: 1255-1261
        • King A.C.
        • Stokols D.
        • Talen E.
        • Brassington G.S.
        Theoretic approaches to the promotion of physical activity.
        Am J Prev Med. 2002; 23: 15-25
        • Trost S.G.
        • Owen N.
        • Bauman A.E.
        • Sallis J.F.
        • Brown W.
        Correlates of adults participation in physical activity: Review and update.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002; 34: 1996-2001
        • Giles-Corti B.
        • Timperio A.
        • Bull F.
        • Pikora T.
        Understanding physical activity environmental correlates: Increased specificity for ecologic models.
        Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2005; 33: 175-181
        • Owen N.
        • Humpel N.
        • Leslie E.
        • Bauman A.
        • Sallis J.F.
        Understanding environmental influences on walking: Review and research agenda.
        Am J Prev Med. 2004; 27: 67-76
        • Owen N.
        • Leslie E.
        • Salmon J.
        • Fotheringham M.
        Environmental determinants of physical activity and sedentary behavior.
        Exer Sport Sci Rev. 2000; 28: 153-158
        • Saelens B.E.
        • Sallis J.F.
        • Frank L.D.
        Environmental correlates of walking and cycling: Findings from the transportation, urban design, and planning literatures.
        Ann Behav Med. 2003; 25: 80-91
        • Sallis J.F.
        • Owen N.
        Ecological models of health behavior.
        in: Glanz K. Lewis F.M. Rimer B.K. Health Behavior and health education: theory, research and practice. 3d edn. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco2002: 462-484
        • Kumanyika S.
        • Jeffery R.W.
        • Morabia A.
        • Ritenbaugh C.
        • Antipatis V.J.
        • Public Health Approaches to the Prevention of Obesity Working Group of the International Obesity Task Force
        Obesity prevention: The case for action.
        Int J Obes. 2002; 26: 425-436
        • World Health Organization (WHO)
        Global strategy on diet, physical activity and health: Report by the Secretariat.
        WHO, Geneva2004
        • Heath G.
        • Brownson R.
        • Kruger J.
        • et al.
        The effectiveness of urban design and land use and transport policies and practices to increase physical activity: A systematic review.
        J Phys Activity Health. 2006; 1: S55-S71
        • Transportation Research Board
        • Institute of Medicine (IOM)
        Does the built environment influence physical activity?.
        Special Report 282. National Academies Press, Washington DC2005
        • Frank L.D.
        Economic determinants of urban form: Resulting trade-offs between active and sedentary forms of travel.
        Am J Prev Med. 2004; 27: 146-153
        • Frank L.D.
        • Engelke P.O.
        • Schmid T.L.
        Health and community design: The impact of the built environment on physical activity.
        Island Press, Washington DC2003
        • Leslie E.
        • Coffee N.
        • Frank L.
        • Owen N.
        • Bauman A.
        • Hugo G.
        Walkability of local communities: Using geographic information systems to objectively assess relevant environmental attributes.
        Health Place. 2007; 13: 111-122
        • Randall T.A.
        • Baetz B.W.
        Evaluating pedestrian connectivity for surburban sustainability.
        J Urban Planning Dev. 2001; 127: 1-15
        • Aultman-Hall L.
        • Roorda M.
        • Baetz B.W.
        Using GIS for evaluation of neighborhood pedestrian accessibility.
        J Urban Planning Dev. 1997; 123: 10-17
        • Handy S.L.
        Urban form and pedestrian choices: Study of Austin neighborhoods.
        Transp Res Rec. 1996; 1552: 135-144
        • Boarnet M.G.
        • Sarmiento S.
        Can land-use policy really affect travel behavior?.
        Urban Stud. 1998; 35: 1155-1169
        • Krizek K.J.
        Residential relocation and changes in urban travel: Does neighborhood-scale urban form matter?.
        J Am Plann Assoc. 2003; 69: 265-281
        • Schwanen T.
        • Mokhtarian P.L.
        What affects commute mode choice: Neighborhood physical structure or preferences toward neighborhood.
        J Transp Geogr. 2005; 13: 83-99
        • Frank L.D.
        • Sallis J.F.
        • Conway T.
        • Chapman J.
        • Saelens B.E.
        • Bachman W.
        Many pathways from land use to health: Walkability associations with active transportation, body mass index and air quality.
        J Am Plann Assoc. 2006; 72: 75-87
        • duToit L.
        • Cerin E.
        • Leslie E.
        • Cancer Prevention Research Centre, School of Population Health, University of Queensland
        An account of spatially based survey methods and recruitment outcomes of the Physical Activity in Localities and Community Environments (PLACE) Study.
        2005 (Available online at: http://www.uq.edu.au/cprc/docs/Place_report_2005_Final.pdf)
        • Frank L.D.
        • Sallis J.F.
        • Conway T.
        • Chapman J.
        • Saelens B.
        • Bachman W.
        Multiple pathways from land use to health: walkability associations with active transportation, body mass index, and air quality.
        J Am Planning Assoc. 2006; 72: 75-87
        • Frank L.D.
        • Schmid T.L.
        • Sallis J.F.
        • Chapman J.
        • Saelens B.E.
        Linking objectively measured physical activity with objectively measured urban form: From SMARTRAQ.
        Am J Prev Med. 2005; 28: 117-125
        • Humpel N.
        • Owen N.
        • Leslie E.
        Environmental factors associated with adults’ participation in physical activity: A review.
        Am J Prev Med. 2002; 22: 188-199
      1. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Census of Population and Housing: CDATA 2001, CD-ROM, Final Release. ABS. Available online at: www.abs.gov.au.

        • Hugo G.
        Australia’s most recent immigrants.
        Australian Bureau of Statistics, Canberra2004 (Australian Census analytic program (Cat No. 2053.0))
      2. International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Guidelines for Data Processing and Analysis of International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). Available online at: http://www.ipaq.ki.se/dloads/IPAQ%20LS%20Scoring%20Protocols_Nov05.pdf.

        • Craig C.L.
        • Marshall A.L.
        • Sjöström M.
        • et al.
        International Physical Activity Questionnaire: 12-country reliability and validity.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2003; 35: 1381-1395
        • Snijder T.A.B.
        • Bosker R.
        Multilevel analysis: An introduction to basic and advanced multilevel modeling.
        Sage Publications, London1999
        • Giles-Corti B.
        • Timperio A.
        • Cutt H.
        • et al.
        Development of a reliable measure of walking within and outside the local neighborhood: RESIDE’s Neighbourhood Physical Activity Questionnaire.
        Prev Med. 2006; 42: 455-459
        • Gebel K.
        • Bauman A.E.
        • Petticrew M.
        The physical environment and physical activity: A critical appraisal of review articles.
        Am J Prev Med. 2007; 32: 361-369
        • Day K.
        • Boarnet M.
        • Alfonzo M.
        • Forsyth A.
        The Irvine–Minnesota Inventory to measure built environments: Development.
        Am J Prev Med. 2006; 30: 144-152
        • King W.C.
        • Belle S.H.
        • Brach J.S.
        • Simkin-Silverman L.R.
        • Soska T.
        • Kriska A.M.
        Objective measures of neighborhood environment and physical activity in older women.
        Am J Prev Med. 2005; 28: 461-469
        • Craig C.L.
        • Brownson R.C.
        • Cragg S.E.
        • Dunn A.L.
        Exploring the effect of the environment on physical activity: A study examining walking to work.
        Am J Prev Med. 2002; 23: 36-43
        • Timperio A.
        • Ball K.
        • Salmon J.
        • et al.
        Personal, family, social, and environmental correlates of active commuting to school.
        Am J Prev Med. 2006; 30: 45-51
        • Bauman A.
        The physical environment and physical activity: moving from ecologic associations to intervention evidence.
        J Epidemiol Community Health. 2005; 59: 535-536
        • Ogilvie D.
        • Egan M.
        • Hamilton V.
        • Petticrew M.
        Promoting walking and cycling as an alternative to using cars: A systematic review.
        BMJ. 2004; 329: 763-767