Neighborhood-based differences in physical activity: an environment scale evaluation

Am J Public Health. 2003 Sep;93(9):1552-8. doi: 10.2105/ajph.93.9.1552.


Objectives: This study evaluated a neighborhood environment survey and compared the physical activity and weight status of the residents in 2 neighborhoods.

Methods: On 2 occasions, 107 adults from neighborhoods with differing "walkability" were selected to complete a survey on their neighborhood environment. Physical activity was assessed by self-report and by accelerometer; height and weight were assessed by self-report.

Results: Neighborhood environment characteristics had moderate to high test-retest reliabilities. Residents of high-walkability neighborhoods reported higher residential density, land use mix, street connectivity, aesthetics, and safety. They had more than 70 more minutes of physical activity and had lower obesity prevalence (adjusted for individual demographics) than did residents of low-walkability neighborhoods.

Conclusions: The reliability and validity of self-reported neighborhood environment subscales were supported. Neighborhood environment was associated with physical activity and overweight prevalence.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving / statistics & numerical data
  • Body Weight* / ethnology
  • California
  • City Planning*
  • Environment Design*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Public Health / statistics & numerical data
  • Research Design
  • Residence Characteristics / classification*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data
  • Safety
  • Self Efficacy*
  • Urban Health
  • Walking / statistics & numerical data