Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale: validity and development of a short form

Ester Cerin, Brian E Saelens, James F Sallis, Lawrence D Frank
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2006, 38 (9): 1682-91

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to examine the factorial and criterion validity of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) and to develop an abbreviated version (NEWS-A).

METHODS: A stratified two-stage cluster sample design was used to recruit 1286 adults. The sample was drawn from residential addresses within eight high- and eight low-walkable neighborhoods matched for socioeconomic status. Subjects completed the NEWS and reported weekly minutes of walking for transport and recreation using items from the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

RESULTS: Multilevel confirmatory factor analysis was used to develop measurement models of the NEWS and NEWS-A. Six individual-level and five blockgroup-level factors were identified. Factors/scales gauging presence of diversity of destinations, residential density, walking infrastructure, aesthetics, traffic safety, and crime were positively related to walking for transport. Aesthetics, mixed destinations, and residential density were associated with walking for recreation.

CONCLUSIONS: The NEWS and NEWS-A possess adequate levels of factorial and criterion validity. Alternative methods of scoring for different purposes are presented.

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