Background: This study aimed to investigate relationships between environmental aesthetics, convenience, and walking companions and walking for exercise or recreation and to investigate differences in these relationships by sex and by reported physical and mental health.
Methods: Analyses of cross-sectional self-report data from a statewide population survey of 3,392 Australian adults were used.
Results: Men and women reporting a less aesthetically pleasing or less convenient environment were less likely to report walking for exercise or recreation in the past 2 weeks. Those respondents, particularly women, reporting no company or pet to walk with were also less likely to walk for exercise or recreation. Associations with environmental and social influences were observed for men and women reporting both good and poor physical and mental health.
Conclusions: Perceived environmental aesthetics and convenience and walking companions are important correlates of walking for exercise among urban Australians. Acknowledging the cross-sectional nature of these data, findings support a case for evaluation of environmental policies to promote physical activity.
Copyright 2001 American Health Foundation and Academic Press.