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J Aging Phys Act. 2008 Apr;16(2):144-70.

Neighborhood and individual factors in activity in older adults: results from the neighborhood and senior health study.

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  • 1Clinical Research Unit, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Denver, CO 80237-8066, USA.


This study examined whether features of the built environment and residents' perceptions of neighborhood walkability, safety, and social cohesion were associated with self-reported physical activity (PA) and community-based activity among a sample of 190 older adults (mean age 74) residing in 8 Denver neighborhoods. Neighborhood walking audits were conducted to assess walkability and social capital. In multilevel analyses, a few walkability variables including curb cuts, crosswalks, and density of retail predicted greater frequency of walking for errands (p < .05), but mean frequency of walking for errands for this sample was low (<1/wk). Contrary to expectations, total PA and community-based activity were highest in neighborhoods with fewer walkability variables but higher respondent perceptions of safety and social cohesion (p < .01). For seniors, the importance of characteristics of the built environment in promoting PA and general activity engagement might be secondary to attributes of the social environment that promote safety and social cohesion.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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