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

  • The relationship between the built environment and habitual levels of physical activity in South African older adults: a pilot study. Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy L.; Pacheco, Kyla; Tomaz, Simone A.; Karpul, David; Lambert, Estelle V. // BMC Public Health;2015, Vol. 15 Issue 1, p1 

    Background: Previous research has shown that the built environment plays a role in habitual levels of physical activity (PA), however much of this research has been conducted in adults and higher income countries. The aim of this pilot study was to examine the strength of association between the...

  • Socioeconomic position, resilience, and health behaviour among elderly people. Perna, Laura; Mielck, Andreas; Lacruz, Maria; Emeny, Rebecca; Holle, Rolf; Breitfelder, Ariane; Ladwig, Karl // International Journal of Public Health;Apr2012, Vol. 57 Issue 2, p341 

    Objectives: Healthy psychological functioning, the ability to respond rapidly to environmental changes, has been associated with better health outcomes. Less work has examined the association with health behaviour. This study explores whether resilience (a specific expression of healthy...

  • Adult Physical Activity Counseling by Health Professionals in Brazil: A National Urban Population Survey. Silva Duro, Suele Manjourany; Tomasi, Elaine; Siqueira, Fernando Vinholes; Silveira, Denise Silva; Thumé, Elaine; Facchini, Luiz Augusto // Journal of Physical Activity & Health;Aug2015, Vol. 12 Issue 8, p1177 

    Background: Physical activity counseling is an attribution of health professionals. As such, this paper aims to analyze the receipt of this form of counseling. Methods: Cross-sectional national study interviewing 12,402 adults living in the urban area of 100 Brazilian municipalities. Results:...

  • Quality of life of older Chilean people living in metropolitan Santiago, Chile: influence of socioeconomic status. Bunout, Daniel; Osorio, Paulina; Barrera, Gladys; Torrejón,, María José; Meersohn, Cynthia; Anigstein, María Sol; Miranda, Juan Pablo; Espinoza, Iris; Hirsch, Sandra; De La Maza, María Pía // Ageing Research;2012, Vol. 3 Issue 1, p15 

    Quality of life (QOL) of older people is becoming an important public health concern and should be evaluated. The aim of this study was to evaluate socioeconomic and individual determinants of QOL of older subjects living in metropolitan Santiago, Chile. We first carried out a qualitative phase...

  • Surprising SES Gradients in Mortality, Health, and Biomarkers in a Latin American Population of Adults. Rosero-Bixby, Luis; Dow, William H. // Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Socia;Jan2009, Vol. 64B Issue 1, p105 

    Background. To determine socioeconomic status (SES) gradients in the different dimensions of health among elderly Costa Ricans. Hypothesis: SES disparities in adult health are minimal in Costa Rican society. Methods. Data from the Costa Rican Study on Longevity and Healthy Aging study: 8,000...

  • The Meaning and Significance of Self-Management Among Socioeconomically Vulnerable Older Adults. Clark, Daniel O.; Frankel, Richard M.; Morgan, David L.; Ricketts, Gretchen; Bair, Matthew J.; Nyland, Kathryn A.; Callahan, Christopher M. // Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences & Socia;Sep2008, Vol. 63B Issue 5, pS312 

    Objectives. The aim of this study was to describe and contrast perceptions of self-management among socioeconomically vulnerable and nonvulnerable older adults. Methods. We used in-depth, in-home interviews guided by identity theory. Analyses included reviewing audiotapes, creating and comparing...

  • Subjective Social Status and Functional Decline in Older Adults. Chen, Bonnie; Covinsky, Kenneth; Cenzer, Irena; Adler, Nancy; Williams, Brie // JGIM: Journal of General Internal Medicine;Jun2012, Vol. 27 Issue 6, p693 

    BACKGROUND: It is unknown whether subjective assessment of social status predicts health outcomes in older adults. OBJECTIVE: To describe the relationship between subjective social status and functional decline in older adults. DESIGN: Longitudinal cohort study. SETTING: The Health and...

  • Give your brain a workout! Buchanan, Peggy // Functional U;Mar/Apr2013, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p5 

    The article discusses how a walking program for older adults in a retirement community was revised by mixing cognitive and physical tasks. According to the author, there were initially limited ways to stimulate excitement among members of walking groups, which necessitated the revision of the...

  • Evaluation of an intervention using a self-regulatory counselling aid: pre- and post- intervention results of the OPTIMAHL 60plus study. Gallois, Katharina; Buck, Christoph; Dreas, Jessica; Hassel, Holger; Zeeb, Hajo // International Journal of Public Health;Jun2013, Vol. 58 Issue 3, p449 

    Objectives: The study covers development and evaluation of an innovative counselling aid in an intervention study. The main purpose of the study was to establish whether improvements in nutrition and physical activity behaviour according to standard recommendations can be demonstrated. Methods:...


Read the Article


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

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics