Variations in Community Prevalence and Determinants of Recreational and Utilitarian Walking in Older Age
Leveille, Suzanne G.
Hannan, Marian T.
Kane, Kevin J.
UMass Chan AffiliationsUMass Worcester Prevention Research Center
Health Statistics and Geography Lab, Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine, Department of Medicine
KeywordsBehavior and Behavior Mechanisms
Community Health and Preventive Medicine
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AbstractBackground. Regular walking is critical to maintaining health in older age. We examined influences of individual and community factors on walking habits in older adults. Methods. We analyzed walking habits among participants of a prospective cohort study of 745 community-dwelling men and women, mainly aged 70 years or older. We estimated community variations in utilitarian and recreational walking, and examined whether the variations were attributable to community differences in individual and environmental factors. Results. Prevalence of recreational walking was relatively uniform while prevalence of utilitarian walking varied across the 16 communities in the study area. Both types of walking were associated with individual health and physical abilities. However, utilitarian walking was also strongly associated with several measures of neighborhood socioeconomic status and access to amenities while recreational walking was not. Conclusions. Utilitarian walking is strongly influenced by neighborhood environment, but intrinsic factors may be more important for recreational walking. Communities with the highest overall walking prevalence were those with the most utilitarian walkers. Public health promotion of regular walking should take this into account.
Elizabeth Procter-Gray, Suzanne G. Leveille, Marian T. Hannan, Jie Cheng, Kevin Kane, and Wenjun Li, “Variations in Community Prevalence and Determinants of Recreational and Utilitarian Walking in Older Age,” Journal of Aging Research, vol. 2015, Article ID 382703, 11 pages, 2015. doi:10.1155/2015/382703. Link to article on publisher's website