Disparities in Older Adults’ Outdoor Walking Levels and Neighbourhood Green Spaces Characteristics

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Background: Older adults are encouraged to take outdoor walks, since outdoor walking has positive impacts on older adults’ health. Evidence indicates that older adults living in high-deprivation areas walk outside their homes less than their peers living in low-deprivation areas. Previous research has shown that older adults’ outdoor walking levels may be influenced by characteristics of green spaces in their neighbourhoods. This research focuses on three characteristics (i.e., proximity, size, attractiveness), and also availability, of neighbourhood green spaces, and examines their possible influences on disparities in older adults’ outdoor walking levels in in low- and high-deprivation areas.

Methods: The study was conducted in Birmingham, United Kingdom. We included 173 participants (65 years and over) and we used GPS technology to measure outdoor walking levels. Data on neighbourhood green spaces characteristics were collected from Birmingham City Council. By using Geographic Information System (GIS), we identified three groups of green spaces (i.e., nearest, largest, and most attractive), as well as number of green spaces, within a 2 km radius from each participant’s home. Regression analyses were used to examine associations between characteristics (i.e., proximity, size and attractiveness) of each group of green spaces and outdoor walking levels. Regression analyses were also used to study associations between number of neighbourhhod green spaces and outdoor walking levels. All regression models were adjusted for personal characteristics (e.g., marital status and ethnicity) and controlled for interactions between neighbourhood green spaces characteristics and area deprivation. Neighbourhood green spaces characteristics were compared between low- and high-deprivation areas by using statistical analyses.

Results: The results of this study showed a significant association between size of the largest green spaces and outdoor walking levels. This association was similar in low- and high-deprivation areas. Participants with larger green spaces in their neighbourhoods were more likely to walk outside their homes. It was also found that participants from high-deprivation areas have more, though smaller and less attractive, green spaces in their neighbourhoods than their peers in low-deprivation areas.

Conclusions: Inequalities in size of neighbourhood green spaces in high-versus low-deprivation areas may influence the disparities in participants’ outdoor walking levels. Inequalities found in neighbourhood green spaces attractiveness do not influence the disparities in outdoor walking levels, because this characteristic of neighbourhood green spaces is not related to outdoor walking levels. Providing larger green spaces in high-deprivation areas is encouraged.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S45-S46
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
Issue numberSupplement
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
EventInternational Conference on Transport & Health, ICTH 2017: Changing Perspectives: Health Impacts of Urban & Transport Related Exposures - Campus Mar, Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 27 Jun 201729 Jun 2017


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