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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: DEVELOPMENT AND PREVENTION OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Cross-validation of the factorial structure of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) and its abbreviated form (NEWS-A)

Authors
item Cerin, Ester -
item Conway, Terry -
item Saelens, Brian -
item Frank, Lawrence -
item Sallis, James -

Submitted to: International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 9, 2009
Publication Date: June 9, 2009
Repository URL: http://www.ijbnpa.org/content/6/1/32
Citation: Cerin, E., Conway, T.L., Saelens, B.E., Frank, L.D., Sallis, J.F. 2009. Cross-validation of the factorial structure of the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) and its abbreviated form (NEWS-A). International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 6:32.

Interpretive Summary: Physical activity is important for health. The Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) and its abbreviated form (NEWS-A) assess perceived environmental attributes believed to influence physical activity. Two studies provided support for the validity and reliability of the NEWS and NEWS-A. However, one of these studies used a modified version of the original NEWS. Hence, it is not known whether the original NEWS and NEWS-A are instruments that can be validly used in different types of locations. Given that the quality of research on physical activity relies on the quality of the measures used, the aim of this study was to cross-validate the NEWS and NEWS-A in a geographical location and population different from those used in the original validation study. A sample of 912 adults was recruited from 16 selected neighborhoods (116 census block groups) in the Baltimore, MD, region. Participants completed the NEWS. The data provided sufficient support for the validity of the original measurement model of the NEWS and NEWS-A. This study provided support for the use of the NEWS and NEWS-A in different urban geographical locations in the USA. However, prior to using these instruments in international and multicultural studies, further validation work across diverse non-English-speaking countries and populations is needed.

Technical Abstract: The Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) and its abbreviated form (NEWS-A) assess perceived environmental attributes believed to influence physical activity. A multilevel confirmatory factor analysis (MCFA) conducted on a sample from Seattle, WA, showed that, at the respondent level, the factor-analyzable items of the NEWS and NEWS-A measured 11 and 10 constructs of perceived neighborhood environment, respectively. At the census blockgroup (used by the US Census Bureau as a subunit of census tracts) level, the MCFA yielded five factors for both NEWS and NEWS-A. The aim of this study was to cross-validate the individual- and blockgroup-level measurement models of the NEWS and NEWS-A in a geographical location and population different from those used in the original validation study. A sample of 912 adults was recruited from 16 selected neighborhoods (116 census blockgroups) in the Baltimore, MD, region. Neighborhoods were stratified according to their socio-economic status and transport-related walkability level measured using Geographic Information Systems. Participants self-completed the NEWS. MCFA was used to cross-validate the individual- and blockgroup-level measurement models of the NEWS and NEWS-A. The data provided sufficient support for the factorial validity of the original individual-level measurement models, which consisted of 11 (NEWS) and 10 (NEWS-A) correlated factors. The original blockgroup-level measurement model of the NEWS and NEWS-A showed poor fit to the data and required substantial modifications. These included the combining of aspects of building aesthetics with safety from crime into one factor; the separation of natural aesthetics and building aesthetics into two factors; and for the NEWS-A, the separation of presence of sidewalks/walking routes from other infrastructure for walking. This study provided support for the generalizability of the individual-level measurement models of the NEWS and NEWS-A to different urban geographical locations in the USA. It is recommended that the NEWS and NEWS-A be scored according to their individual-level measurement models, which are relatively stable and correspond to constructs commonly used in the urban planning and transportation fields. However, prior to using these instruments in international and multi-cultural studies, further validation work across diverse non-English-speaking countries and populations is needed.

Last Modified: 8/27/2014