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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Boston, Massachusetts » Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #363285

Research Project: Cardiovascular Nutrition and Health

Location: Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging

Title: Associations between Walk Score and objective measures of physical activity in urban overweight and obese women

Author
item Camhi, Sarah - University Of Massachusetts
item Trouped, Philip - University Of Massachusetts
item Garvey, Meghan - University Of Massachusetts
item Hayman, Laura - University Of Massachusetts
item Must, Aviva - Tufts University
item Lichtenstein, Alice - Jean Mayer Human Nutrition Research Center On Aging At Tufts University
item Crouter, Scott - University Of Tennessee

Submitted to: PLoS One
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/6/2019
Publication Date: 3/28/2019
Citation: Camhi, S.M., Trouped, P.J., Garvey, M.E., Hayman, L.L., Must, A., Lichtenstein, A.H., Crouter, S.E. 2019. Associations between Walk Score and objective measures of physical activity in urban overweight and obese women. PLoS One. 14(3):e0214092. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214092.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0214092

Interpretive Summary: We examined the association between Walk Score, an estimate of the walkability of home address by assessing proximity to nearby amenities, and an estimate of physical activity, using an accelerometer, in overweight/obese women with an average age of 27 living in an urban Boston area. Walk Score was significantly and positively associated with steps/day and steps/minute but not significantly associated with light physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity, total activity counts or metabolic equivalents. Walk Score sub-scores; parks, grocery, errands, shopping, dining/drinking and culture/entertainment, were significantly and positively associated with steps/day and steps/minute, but not significant with schools. Participants who lived in high Walk Score neighborhoods (higher density of parks, grocery stores, shopping, dining/drinking and culture/ entertainment) were significantly more likely to meet step guidelines and engage in moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity guidelines than those living in low Walk Score neighborhoods. These results imply that living in a more walkable neighborhood may encourage walking behavior, thus policies should promote positive changes to the built environment that encourage walking and walkability of neighborhoods.

Technical Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine associations between the Walk Score and physical activity in young, overweight/obese urban women. Project Health included 45 White or African American women (BMI 31.5+/-3.9 kg/m^2; age 26.5+/-4.6 years; 62% African American) living in the Boston area. An accelerometer estimated steps/day and mins/day in light physical activity (100-2019 counts-per-minute) and moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity (>/=2020 cpm). Walk Score was used to estimate the walkability of home address by analyzing proximity to nearby amenities. General linear regression models estimated associations between total Walk Score and physical activity (light physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity, steps, total activity counts, METs), adjusting for body mass index, age, race/ethnicity, seasonality, wear time, employment and student status. For physical activity variables that had significant associations with Walk Score (steps/day and steps/min), regression models were estimated for Walk Score sub-scores (parks, grocery, errands, shopping, dining/drinking, culture/entertainment and schools). Logistic regression models estimated the odds of meeting the guidelines for steps (>/=10,000/day) and moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity (>/=150mins MVPA/week) based on Walk Score. Participants had a Walk Score of 63.9+/-26.4, took 14,143+/=3,934 steps/day, and spent 206.2+/=66.0 mins/day in light physical activity and 46.7+/=17.5 mins/day in moderate-to-vigorous- physical activity. Walk Score was significantly and positively associated with steps/day (beta = 51.4, p = 0.01) and steps/min (beta = 0.06, p = 0.009) but was not associated with mins/day of light physical activity, moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity, total activity counts or METs. Parks, grocery, errands, shopping, dining/drinking, and culture/entertainment Walk Score sub-scores were significantly associated with steps and steps/min (all p<0.05), but not significantly associated for schools. Participants who lived in higher Walk Score neighborhoods were more likely to meet the step guidelines (OR, 95% CI: 1.59, 1.04-2.99) and moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity guidelines (1.63, 1.06-3.02), respectively, per 10-unit increase in Walk Score. These results indicate that living in a more walkable neighborhood may support walking behavior in young, urban-dwelling overweight/obese women and provide further evidence for the expanded use of urban planning and transportation policies to improve the walkability of urban neighborhoods.