Neighborhood-Level Active Living Buoys for Individuals with Physical Disabilities

  • Michael Spivock
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Michael Spivock, PhD(c), Canadian Forces Base Montreal, St-Jean Garrison, Building B-129, Office 125, P.O. Box 100, Richelain, Québec, Canada, J0J 1R0.
    University of Montreal, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Interdisciplinary Research Group on Health and The Lea-Roback Research Centre on Social Inequalities in Health of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
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  • Lise Gauvin
    University of Montreal, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Interdisciplinary Research Group on Health and The Lea-Roback Research Centre on Social Inequalities in Health of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
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  • Jean-Marc Brodeur
    University of Montreal, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Interdisciplinary Research Group on Health and The Lea-Roback Research Centre on Social Inequalities in Health of Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada
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Published:January 22, 2007DOI:


      In an effort to advance the research agenda on residential determinants of active living among people with physical disabilities, the purposes of this paper are (1) to describe the extent to which environmental supports (buoys) promoting active living among individuals with disabilities are present in neighborhoods located in a large urban area, and (2) to examine the association between the presence of these buoys and neighborhood-level indicators of affluence, proportions of individuals with disabilities living in the neighborhood, and other neighborhood active living indicators.


      In the context of a larger project, pairs of evaluators assessed potential determinants of active living in 112 neighborhoods (census tracts) on the island of Montreal, Canada, in the summer of 2003. The assessment grid included 18 items related to active living for the general population and three specifically for people with physical disabilities.


      Analyses performed in 2006 show that few neighborhoods in this large urban area are equipped with environmental buoys that might support active living among people with physical disabilities. Lower levels of environmental buoys to promote active living among those with disabilities were most strongly associated with lower levels of neighborhood activity-friendliness. Less consistent associations were observed between lower environmental buoys and lower density of destinations, greater safety, lower proportions of people with disabilities, and higher proportions of those of low income.


      More research is needed to better understand the distribution of environmental buoys in residential areas and their influences on active living among people with physical disabilities.
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