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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Older adults’ outdoor walking and the built environment: does income matter?

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
M. Winters, R. Barnes, Scott Venners, N. Ste-Marie, H. McKay, J. Sims-Gould, MC Ashe
Wichtige Hinweise
M. Winters and R. Barnes contributed equally to this work.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

MW conceived the study and contributed to data acquisition and drafting and revisions of the manuscript. RB led the analysis, wrote the first draft and managed revisions. NSM contributed to data acquisition and preparation. MA contributed to study design, conception, and interpretation. SV provided statistical advice. NSM, SV, JS and HM provided input during manuscript development. All authors approved the final version and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work.



Our aim was to examine the association between Street Smart Walk Score® and self-reported outdoor walking among older Canadians, and to determine whether socioeconomic status modifies this association.


We linked objective walkability data with cross-sectional survey data from the Canadian Community Health Survey Healthy-Aging 2008–2009 Cycle for a sample of 1309 British Columbians aged ≥ 65 years. We examined associations between Street Smart Walk Score and meeting physical activity guidelines (≥150 min of moderate to vigorous activity/week) through self-reported outdoor walking using multivariable logistic regression, and tested for significant interactions with household income.


A ten point higher Street Smart Walk Score was associated with a 17 % higher odds of meeting physical activity guidelines through walking outside (95 % CI: 1.07,1.27). In addition, older adults living in neighbourhoods categorised as Walker’s Paradise were over three times more likely to meet guidelines than those living in Car-dependent/Very car dependent neighbourhoods. We found no evidence that household income moderated the effect of Walk Score on walking outside.


Neighbourhood design may be one avenue whereby physical activity levels of older people can be enhanced through outdoor walking, with benefit across socioeconomic strata.
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