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The relationship between destination proximity, destination mix and physical activity behaviors

Gavin R McCormack, Billie Giles-Corti, Max Bulsara
Preventive Medicine 2008, 46 (1): 33-40
17481721

BACKGROUND: The presence and mix of destinations is an important aspect of the built environment that may encourage or discourage physical activity. This study examined the association between the proximity and mix of neighbourhood destinations and physical activity.

METHODS: Secondary analysis was undertaken on physical activity data from Western Australian adults (n=1394). These data were linked with geographical information systems (GIS) data including the presence and the mix of destinations located within 400 and 1500 m from respondents' homes. Associations with walking for transport and recreation and vigorous physical activity were examined.

RESULTS: Access to post boxes, bus stops, convenience stores, newsagencies, shopping malls, and transit stations within 400 m (OR 1.63-5.00) and schools, transit stations, newsagencies, convenience stores and shopping malls within 1500 m (OR 1.75-2.38) was associated with participation in regular transport-related walking. A dose-response relationship between the mix of destinations and walking for transport was also found. Each additional destination within 400 and 1500 m resulted in an additional 12 and 11 min/fortnight spent walking for transport, respectively.

CONCLUSION: Proximity and mix of destinations appears strongly associated with walking for transport, but not walking for recreation or vigorous activity. Increasing the diversity of destinations may contribute to adults doing more transport-related walking and achieving recommended levels of physical activity.

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