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Am J Public Health. 2014 Mar;104(3):e49-56. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301773. Epub 2014 Jan 16.

Change in walking and body mass index following residential relocation: the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis.

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Jana A. Hirsch, Ana V. Diez Roux, and Kari A. Moore are with the Department of Epidemiology, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor. Kelly R. Evenson is with the Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Daniel A. Rodriguez is with the Department of City & Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.



We investigated whether moving to neighborhoods with closer proximity of destinations and greater street connectivity was associated with more walking, a greater probability of meeting the "Every Body Walk!" campaign goals (≥ 150 minutes/week of walking), and reductions in body mass index (BMI).


We linked longitudinal data from 701 participants, who moved between 2 waves of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (2004-2012), to a neighborhood walkability measure (Street Smart Walk Score) for each residential location. We used fixed-effects models to estimate if changes in walkability resulting from relocation were associated with simultaneous changes in walking behaviors and BMI.


Moving to a location with a 10-point higher Walk Score was associated with a 16.04 minutes per week (95% confidence interval [CI] = 5.13, 29.96) increase in transport walking, 11% higher odds of meeting Every Body Walk! goals through transport walking (adjusted odds ratio = 1.11; 95% CI = 1.02, 1.21), and a 0.06 kilogram per meters squared (95% CI = -0.12, -0.01) reduction in BMI. Change in walkability was not associated with change in leisure walking.


Our findings illustrated the potential for neighborhood infrastructure to support health-enhancing behaviors and overall health of people in the United States.

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