Associations of location and perceived environmental attributes with walking in neighborhoods

Am J Health Promot. 2004 Jan-Feb;18(3):239-42. doi: 10.4278/0890-1171-18.3.239.


Purpose: Ecological models highlight the importance of environmental influences. We examined associations of coastal versus noncoastal location and perceived environmental attributes with neighborhood walking, total walking, and total activity.

Methods: Telephone interviews with 800 faculty and general staff of an Australian university.

Results: Men were significantly more likely to walk in their neighborhood if they lived in a coastal location (odds ratio [OR] = 1.66), and they highly rated environmental "aesthetics" (OR = 1.91), "convenience" of facilities (OR = 2.20), and "access" to facilities (OR = 1.98). For women, neighborhood walking was associated with high ratings of "convenience" (OR = 3.78) but was significantly less likely if they had high ratings for "access" (OR = 0.48). For total walking and total physical activity, few significant associations emerged.

Conclusions: Environmental attributes were related to walking in the neighborhood but not to more general activity indices. Understanding gender-specific environmental correlates of physical activity should be a priority.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Bathing Beaches
  • Esthetics
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Walking / psychology*