Research Study Abstract

The association between neighborhood socio-economic status, objective walkability and different domains of children’s physical activity in Belgium

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: The aim of this study was to investigate the association between objective walkability and different domains of children’s PA, and to investigate the moderating effect of neighborhood socio-economic status (SES) in this relation.

Methods: Data were collected between December 2011 and May 2013 as part of the Belgian Environmental Physical Activity Study in children (BEPAS-child). Children (9-12 years old) and one parent (n=606) were recruited from 18 elementary schools in Ghent (Belgium). Children together with one parent completed the Flemish Physical Activity Questionnaire and wore an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days. Children’s neighborhood walkability was calculated using geographical information systems.

Results: In low SES neighborhoods walkability was positively related to walking for transportation during leisure (β=0.370±0.102; 95% CI=0.170 and 0.570) and was negatively related to sports during leisure (β=-0.247±0.101; 95% CI=-0.445 and -0.049). In high SES neighborhoods, walkability was unrelated to children’s PA. No other relations between neighborhood walkability and SES, and cycling during leisure, active commuting to school and accelerometer-MVPA were found.

Conclusions: Living in a high walkable neighborhood can be beneficial for walking for transportation during leisure, but can be detrimental for sports during leisure. No univocal relation between neighborhood walkability and PA was found in 9-12 year old children. Results from international adult walkability studies cannot be generalized to children. There is a need in future research to determine the key environmental correlates of children’s PA.


  • Sara D’Haese
  • Delfien Van Dyck
  • Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
  • Benedicte Deforche
  • Greet Cardon

Presented at

ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference


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