Inequitable walking conditions among older people: examining the interrelationship of neighbourhood socio-economic status and urban form using a comparative case study

Grant, Theresa L.; Edwards, Nancy; Sveistrup, Heidi; Andrew, Caroline; Egan, Mary
January 2010
BMC Public Health;2010, Vol. 10 Issue 1, p677
Academic Journal
Background: Supportive neighbourhood walking conditions are particularly important for older people as they age and who, as a group, prefer walking as a form of physical activity. Urban form and socio-economic status (SES) can influence neighbourhood walking behaviour. The objectives of this study were: a) to examine how urban form and neighbourhood SES inter-relate to affect the experiences of older people who walk in their neighbourhoods; b) to examine differences among neighbourhood stakeholder key informant perspectives on socio-political processes that shape the walkability of neighbourhood environments. Methods: An embedded comparative case study examined differences among four Ottawa neighbourhoods that were purposefully selected to provide contrasts on urban form (inner-urban versus suburban) and SES (higher versus lower). Qualitative data collected from 75 older walkers and 19 neighbourhood key informants, as well as quantitative indicators were compared on the two axes of urban form and SES among the four neighbourhoods. Results and discussion: Examining the inter-relationship of neighbourhood SES and urban form characteristics on older people's walking experiences indicated that urban form differences were accentuated positively in higher SES neighbourhoods and negatively in lower SES neighbourhoods. Older people in lower SES neighbourhoods were more affected by traffic hazards and more reliant on public transit compared to their higher SES counterparts. In higher SES neighbourhoods the disadvantages of traffic in the inner-urban neighbourhood and lack of commercial destinations in the suburban neighbourhood were partially offset by other factors including neighbourhood aesthetics. Key informant descriptions of the socio-political process highlighted how lower SES neighbourhoods may face greater challenges in creating walkable places. These differences pertained to the size of neighbourhood associations, relationships with political representatives, accessing information and salient neighbourhood association issues. Findings provide evidence of inequitable walking environments. Conclusion: Future research on walking must consider urban form-SES inter-relationships and further examine the equitable distribution of walking conditions as well as the socio-political processes driving these conditions. There is a need for municipal governments to monitor differences in walking conditions among higher and lower SES neighbourhoods, to be receptive to the needs of lower SES neighbourhood and to ensure that policy decisions are taken to address inequitable walking conditions.


Related Articles

  • Test-Retest Reliability of Perceptions of the Neighborhood Environment for Physical Activity by Socioeconomic Status. Turrell, Gavin; Haynes, Michele; O'Flaherty, Martin; Burton, Nicola; Giskes, Katrina; Giles-Corti, Billie; Wilson, Lee-Ann // Journal of Physical Activity & Health;Aug2011, Vol. 8 Issue 6, p829 

    Background: Further development of high quality measures of neighborhood perceptions will require extensions and refinements to our existing approaches to reliability assessment. This study examined the test-retest reliability of perceptions of the neighborhood environment by socioeconomic...

  • Childhood obesity in USA: A descriptive snapshot of current responses, disconnects, and what could hold promise for additional mitigation. Larson, Anne A. // Movement & Sport Sciences / Science & Motricit√ɬ©;2012, Issue 78, p61 

    Childhood obesity remains an epidemic in USA, especially for those with low socioeconomic status and of color. Energy balance is a primary determinant. Physical activity aids weight management, and most childhood obesity intervention programming focuses on physical activity engagement. Schools...

  • Understanding the lifetime determinants of television viewing. Bann, David; Goldblatt, Peter; Cooper, Rachel // Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health;Apr2015, Vol. 69 Issue 4, p314 

    The article presents his views regarding the determinants of television viewing. Topics discussed include link between the time spent on watching television and increased risk of ill health, public health benefits of reducing television viewing and study by researcher L. Smith and colleagues...

  • Neighborhood Walkability Perceptions: Associations With Amount of Neighborhood-Based Physical Activity by Intensity and Purpose. Kaczynski, Andrew T. // Journal of Physical Activity & Health;Jan2010, Vol. 7 Issue 1, p3 

    Background: Built environments are associated with physical activity (PA), but most studies to date have employed acontextual PA outcome measures. The purposes of this study were to examine the proportion of PA that occurred within participants' neighborhoods and associations between...

  • High Neighborhood Walkability Mitigates Declines in Middle-to-Older Aged Adults' Walking for Transport. Shimura, Hiroko; Sugiyama, Takemi; Winkler, Elisabeth; Owen, Neville // Journal of Physical Activity & Health;Sep2012, Vol. 9 Issue 7, p1004 

    Background: Neighborhood walkability shows significant positive relationship with residents' walking for transport in cross-sectional studies. We examined prospective relationships of neighborhood walkability with the change in walking behaviors over 4 years among middle-to-older aged adults...

  • Exposure to Physical Activity Resources by Neighborhood Sociodemographic Characteristics in Copenhagen. Svastisalee, Chalida; Schipperijn, Jasper; Hostein, Bjorn E.; Powell, Lisa M.; Due, Pernille // Journal of Physical Activity & Health;Nov2012, Vol. 9 Issue 8, p1065 

    Background: To investigate socioeconomic patterning of physical activity resources in Copenhagen. Methods: We used multivariate logistic regression analysis to examine the association between physical activity-supportive resources [public open space (POS), cycling and walking paths, sports...

  • Physical Activity in Deprived Communities in London: Examining Individual and Neighbourhood-Level Factors. Watts, Paul; Phillips, Gemma; Petticrew, Mark; Hayes, Richard; Bottomley, Christian; Yu, Ge; Schmidt, Elena; Tobi, Patrick; Moore, Derek; Frostick, Caroline; Lock, Karen; Renton, Adrian // PLoS ONE;Jul2013, Vol. 8 Issue 7, p1 

    Introduction: The objectives of this study were to examine relationships between neighbourhood-level and individual-level characteristics and physical activity in deprived London neighbourhoods. Methods: In 40 of the most deprived neighbourhoods in London (ranked in top 11% in London by Index of...

  • The Relation between Social Structure of Cities and Earthquake Vulnerability; Case Study: Tehran City's Neighborhoods. Ghadiri, M.; Roknodineftekhari, A. R. // Geography & Environmental Planning;Summer2013, Vol. 50 Issue 2, p37 

    The article discusses the relationship of socio-economical status of people and society groups in Tehran City, Iran, and their vulnerability degree to natural hazards. It outlines the three main concepts in determining the socio-spatial differences of vulnerability based on the social structure...

  • Neighbourhood-socioeconomic variation in women's diet: the role of nutrition environments. Thornton, L E; Crawford, D A; Ball, K // European Journal of Clinical Nutrition;Dec2010, Vol. 64 Issue 12, p1423 

    Background/Objectives:Living in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighbourhoods is associated with increased risk of a poor diet; however, the mechanisms underlying associations are not well understood. This study investigated whether selected healthy and unhealthy dietary behaviours are...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics