Outdoor walking and physical activity and their relationship with neighbourhood walkability in older adults with self-reported difficulty in walking outdoors
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Introduction: Neighbourhood walkability has been suggested to influence walking behaviors. However, few studies focused on their relationships in Canadian older adults. The aims of this study were (1) to compare outdoor walking and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity time (MVPA) time in older adults with self-reported difficulty in different cities in Canada; (2) to estimate the associations between outdoor walking and subscale scores and the total scores of neighbourhood walkability; and (3) to estimate the associations between MVPA time and subscale scores and the total scores of neighbourhood walkability. Methods: This was a secondary data analysis of the Getting Older adults OUTdoors (GO-OUT) study. We used data from the baseline evaluation from 190 participants who had self-reported difficulty in outdoor walking in Edmonton (n=51), Winnipeg (n=53), Toronto (n=50), and Montreal (n=36). We compared the between-city differences in outdoor walking and MVPA time. We also attempted to use parametric tests to investigate the relationships between neighbourhood walkability, assessed by Neighbourhood Environmental Walkability Scale (NEWS), and outdoor walking and MVPA. Since the assumptions of normality, homogeneity of variances and homoscedasticity were all violated, Kruskal-Wallis test and Spearman’s rho were conducted. Results: We found (1) significant differences in MVPA time but not outdoor walking time between participants who resided in Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Montreal, and (2) significant but weak associations between land-use mix diversity and land-use mix access, and outdoor walking (Spearman’s rho = 0.172 to 0.233) and (3) between residential density, land-use mix access and street connectivity and MVPA time (Spearman’s rho = -0.235 to 0.208). Conclusion: Several aspects of neighbourhood walkability play a significant role in outdoor walking and MVPA time among community-dwelling older adults. Understanding the relationships between neighbourhood walkability and outdoor walking and MVPA can help identify facilitators and barriers to walking, which could in turn influence their walking habits in the neighbourhood.
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