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Neighborhood environmental factors correlated with walking near home: Using SPACES

Terri J Pikora, Billie Giles-Corti, Matthew W Knuiman, Fiona C Bull, Konrad Jamrozik, Rob J Donovan
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2006, 38 (4): 708-14
16679987

PURPOSE: The physical environment plays an important role in influencing participation in physical activity, although the specific factors that are correlated with different patterns of walking remain to be determined. We examined correlations between physical environmental factors and self-reported walking for recreation and transport near home.

METHODS: The local neighborhood environments (defined as a 400-m radius from the respondent's home) of 1678 adults were assessed for their suitability for walking. The environmental data were collected during 2000 using the Systematic Pedestrian and Cycling Environmental Scan (SPACES) instrument together with information from other sources. We used logistic regression modeling to examine the relationship between the attributes of the physical environment and the self-reported walking behavior undertaken near home.

RESULTS: Functional features were correlated with both walking for recreation (odds ratio (OR) 1.62; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.20-2.19) and for transport (OR 1.30; 95% CI: 0.97-1.73). A well-maintained walking surface was the main functional factor associated with walking for recreation (OR 2.04; 95% CI: 1.43-2.91) and for transport (OR 2.13; 95% CI: 1.53-2.96). Destination factors, such as shops and public transport, were significantly correlated with walking for transport (OR 1.80; 95% CI: 1.33-2.44), but not recreation.

CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that neighborhoods with pedestrian facilities that are attractive and comfortable and where there are local destinations (such as shops and public transport) are associated with walking near home.

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