Neighbourhood Walkability and Daily Steps in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes

PLOSone, published online March 18, 2016

By Samantha Hajna, Nancy A. Ross, Lawrence Joseph, Sam Harper, and Kaberi Dasgupta

“There is evidence that greater neighbourhood walkability (i.e., neighbourhoods with more amenities and well-connected streets) is associated with higher levels of total walking in Europe and in Asia, but it remains unclear if this association holds in the Canadian context and in chronic disease populations. We examined the relationships of different walkability measures to biosensor-assessed total walking (i.e., steps/day) in adults with type 2 diabetes living in Montreal (QC, Canada).

Materials and Methods

Participants (60.5±10.4 years; 48.1% women) were recruited through McGill University-affiliated clinics (June 2006 to May 2008). Steps/day were assessed once per season for one year with pedometers. Neighbourhood walkability was evaluated through participant reports, in-field audits, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-derived measures, and the Walk Score®. Relationships between walkability and daily steps were estimated using Bayesian longitudinal hierarchical linear regression models (n = 131).

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Results

Participants who reported living in the most compared to the least walkable neighbourhoods completed 1345 more steps/day (95% Credible Interval: 718, 1976; Quartiles 4 versus 1). Those living in the most compared to the least walkable neighbourhoods (based on GIS-derived walkability) completed 606 more steps per day (95% CrI: 8, 1203). No statistically significant associations with steps were observed for audit-assessed walkability or the Walk Score®.

Conclusions

Adults with type 2 diabetes who perceived their neighbourhoods as more walkable accumulated more daily steps. This suggests that knowledge of local neighborhood features that enhance walking is a meaningful predictor of higher levels of walking and an important component of neighbourhood walkability.”

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