261228 Neighborhood built environment and leisure-time and transportation-related walking among older U.S. women

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Philip J. Troped, PhD , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Heather Starnes, MA , Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Kosuke Tamura, MS, MA , Department of Health and Kinesiology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
Eran Ben-Joseph, PhD , Department of Urban Studies and Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA
Ellen Cromley, PhD , Department of Community Medicine, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT
Robin Puett, PhD , Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Steven Melly, MS , Dept. of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Peter James, MHS , Departments of Environmental Health and Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Francine Laden, ScD , Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Harvard University, Boston, MA
Background: Among older adults, there is evidence that neighborhood built environment is associated with physical activity. However, it has not been clearly established whether relationships are consistent for leisure-time and transportation-related walking. This study examined associations between the built environment and leisure and transportation-related walking among older women. Methods: In 2008 Nurses' Health Study participants (n=2,582; age=72.76.8 yrs; 97.3% White) from California, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania completed a survey that included a validated walkability scale and questions on walking for leisure and transportation. Objective measures of population, intersection, and facility density were created for areas within 1200m of residences. Multiple linear regression was used to examine relationships between built environment variables and weekly minutes of leisure and transportation-related walking, adjusting for covariates. Results: Perceived access to services, walking infrastructure, and aesthetics were positively associated with leisure and transportation-related walking. Aesthetics had a four-fold stronger relationship with leisure walking, compared to transportation walking (b=43.2 and 9.9 minutes/week for a one unit increase in aesthetics, respectively). Perceived street connectivity was associated with transportation-related walking (b=12.4) and traffic safety was related to leisure walking (b=11.9). Personal safety was not associated with either type of walking. Objective variables were related to transportation walking only (p<0.001). Conclusion: Perceptions of the built environment are important correlates of leisure-time and transportation-related walking among older women, though relationships vary for the two outcomes. Practitioners promoting walking in older adults should focus on certain perceived and objective environmental factors, depending on the type of walking targeted.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. To define leisure-time and transportation-related walking. 2. To describe types of built environment factors associated with leisure-time and transportation-related walking among older women. 3. To explain the implications of findings for promoting walking among older women.

Keywords: Environment, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal investigator on several projects funded by NIH, CDC, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation related to environment, policy, and physical activity.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.