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Am J Prev Med. 2010 Apr;38(4):419-28. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2009.12.031.

Lower-body function, neighborhoods, and walking in an older population.

Author information

  • 1University of California, Berkeley, 94720, USA. bills@berkeley.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Poor lower-body capacity is associated with reduced mobility in older populations.

PURPOSE:

This study sought to determine whether neighborhood environments (e.g., land-use patterns and safety) moderate that association.

METHODS:

The study is based on a cross-sectional sample of 884 people aged > or =65 years identified through service organizations in Alameda County CA, Cook County IL, Allegheny County PA, and Wake and Durham counties NC. In-person interviews focused on neighborhood characteristics, physical and cognitive function, and physical activity and walking. Functional capacity was tested using measures of lower-body strength, balance, and walking speed. The main outcome was time spent walking in a typical week (<150 vs > or =150 minutes per week). Objective environmental measures were also included. Estimates of main and interaction effects were derived from regression models.

RESULTS:

Living in a residential area, compared to a mixed-use or commercial area, was associated with less time spent walking (<150 minutes per week; OR=1.57, 95% CI=1.04, 2.38). Living in a less-compact area (greater median block length) is also significantly associated with less walking for seniors, but only among those with excellent lower-body strength.

CONCLUSIONS:

Neighborhood type is associated with walking among older people, as it is among the general adult population. In individuals with poor lower-body function, no association was found between residence in a less-compact area and walking. For those people, the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and walking requires further study.

2010 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

PMID:
20307811
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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