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Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2010 Sep 17;7:67. doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-7-67.

Practice of walking and its association with perceived environment among elderly Brazilians living in a region of low socioeconomic level.

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1
School of Public Health/Department of Nutrition/University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. emanuelps@usp.br.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The aim of this study was analyze associations between the practice of walking and environmental perception among elderly Brazilians in a region of low socioeconomic level.

METHODS:

A cross-sectional study was conducted among 385 elderly people aged 60 years and over. To evaluate walking, the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), long version (leisure and transport modules) was used. The environment was evaluated by means of the Neighborhood Environmental Walkability Scale (NEWS) (adapted Brazilian version). For the statistical analysis, multiple logistic regression models were created separately for men and women. The practice of at least 150 minutes a week of walking was the dependent variable, and the variables of environmental perception were the independent variables. All the models were controlled for schooling level and age.

RESULTS:

The proportion of elderly people active in walking was 56.9% for the men and 26.4% for the women. The perception of the presence of soccer fields (OR = 4.12) and their proximity, within ten minutes' walk from home (OR = 3.43), were associated with the practice of walking among the men. The perception of the presence of public squares (OR = 4.70) and the proximity of primary healthcare units, within ten minutes' walk from home (OR = 3.71), were associated with the practice of walking among the women. An association with adequate perception of vehicle traffic remained at the threshold of significance for the women.

CONCLUSION:

Accessibility of leisure structures such as football fields and public squares and of health services such as primary healthcare units were important environmental variables associated with the practice of walking among elderly people living in a region of low socioeconomic level in Brazil. These variables need to be taken into consideration when aiming to promote the practice of walking among elderly people living in similar regions.

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