February 27, 2014

The Association between Walking and Perceived Environment in Chinese Community Residents: A Cross- Sectional Study

Yingnan Jia, Tricia Usagawa, and Hua Fu


Background: The neighborhood environment, as a determinant of walking, has been assessed in several developed countries. However, few studies have investigated these associations in Chinese populations.

Objective: To examine the association between the perceived neighborhood environment and walking for recreation or
transportation purposes among Chinese community residents.

Methods: We used a multi-stage stratified random sampling design to conduct a cross-sectional study of 1528 Chinese adults in Shanghai. Environmental and walking variables were assessed using a revised Abbreviated Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale for Chinese subjects and a long version of International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Self-reported demographic variables including gender, age, employment status, and location of community were also collected. Multiple logistic regression analysis was applied to examine the association between the neighborhood environment and walking.

Results: Based on the results of IPAQ, 13.7% of the overall subjects were physical inactive, which was considered to be lowly active. For all participants, accessibility to services was significantly associated with walking for both recreation and transportation (odds ratio = 1.062, 95% confidence interval: 1.016, 1.110; odds ratio = 1.053; 95% confidence interval: 1.008, 1.100, respectively). In males, accessibility to services was significantly associated both with walking for recreation and walking for transportation. However, a significantly negative association was found between the neighborhood surroundings and walking for recreation. In contrast, females who perceived good traffic safety tended to walk for
recreation. Data also revealed a difference between working and retired individuals. Among working participants, perceived environmental variables were not significantly associated with walking for recreation and transportation.

Conclusions: The association between neighborhood environment and walking varied depending on the reason for walking and the characteristics of the participants. Our findings suggest that interventions to promote walking in community residents should include improving the neigh

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