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Am J Public Health. 2007 Mar;97(3):486-92. Epub 2007 Jan 31.

Association of the built environment with physical activity and obesity in older persons.

Author information

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, USA. ethan.m.berke@dartmouth.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We examined whether older persons who live in areas that are conducive to walking are more active or less obese than those living in areas where walking is more difficult.

METHODS:

We used data from the Adult Changes in Thought cohort study for a cross-sectional analysis of 936 participants aged 65 to 97 years. The Walkable and Bikable Communities Project previously formulated a walkability score to predict the probability of walking in King County, Washington. Data from the cohort study were linked to the walkability score at the participant level using a geographic information system. Analyses tested for associations between walkability score and activity and body mass index.

RESULTS:

Higher walkability scores were associated with significantly more walking for exercise across buffers (circular zones around each respondent's home) of varying radii (for men, odds ratio [OR]=5.86; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.01, 34.17 to OR=9.14; CI=1.23, 68.11; for women, OR=1.63; CI=0.94, 2.83 to OR=1.77; CI=1.03, 3.04). A trend toward lower body mass index in men living in more walkable neighborhoods did not reach statistical significance.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings suggest that neighborhood characteristics are associated with the frequency of walking for physical activity in older people. Whether frequency of walking reduces obesity prevalence is less clear.

PMID:
17267713
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1805010
Free PMC Article
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