Associations between recreational walking and attractiveness, size, and proximity of neighborhood open spaces

Am J Public Health. 2010 Sep;100(9):1752-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2009.182006. Epub 2010 Jul 15.


Objectives: We examined associations of attractiveness, size, and proximity of multiple neighborhood open spaces (NOSs) with recreational walking.

Methods: Adults participating in the Residential Environments (RESIDE) study (n=1366) in Perth, Australia, reported time spent engaging in recreational walking within their neighborhoods. Park audit data and geographic information systems were used to identify the most attractive, largest, and nearest NOS within a 1.6-km radius from each participant's residential location. Regression analysis was used to examine attributes (attractiveness, size, and proximity) of these open spaces and their associations with participants' recreational walking.

Results: Shorter distance to attractive open spaces was associated with doing any recreational walking, but adults with larger attractive open spaces within 1.6 km of their home were more likely to walk 150 minutes or more in a week.

Conclusions: For adults, the presence of a large, high-quality park within walking distance of one's home may be more important in promoting sufficient amounts of walking for health benefits than is the presence of an open space within a shorter distance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Humans
  • Leisure Activities*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking*
  • Western Australia