Research Study Abstract

Association between neighborhood walkability and GPS-measured walking, bicycling and vehicle time in adolescents

  • Published on Jan. 9, 2015

Objectives: To investigate relations of walking, bicycling and vehicle time to neighborhood walkability and total physical activity in youth.

Methods: Participants (N=690) were from 380 census block groups of high/low walkability and income in two US regions. Home neighborhood residential density, intersection density, retail density, entertainment density and walkability were derived using GIS. Minutes/day of walking, bicycling and vehicle time were derived from processing algorithms applied to GPS. Accelerometers estimated total daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Models were adjusted for nesting of days (N=2987) within participants within block groups.

Results: Walking occurred on 33%, active travel on 43%, and vehicle time on 91% of the days observed. Intersection density and neighborhood walkability were positively related to walking and bicycling and negatively related to vehicle time. Residential density was positively related to walking.

Conclusions: Increasing walking in youth could be effective in increasing total physical activity. Built environment findings suggest potential for increasing walking in youth through improving neighborhood walkability.


Health & Place