University of Massachusetts Medical School Faculty Publications

Title

Neighborhood Walkability and Adiposity in the Women's Health Initiative Cohort

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Quantitative Health Sciences

Publication Date

11-1-2016

Document Type

Article

Disciplines

Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Place and Environment | Preventive Medicine | Women's Health

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: Neighborhood environments may play a role in the rising prevalence of obesity among older adults. However, research on built environmental correlates of obesity in this age group is limited. The current study aimed to explore associations of Walk Score, a validated measure of neighborhood walkability, with BMI and waist circumference in a large, diverse sample of older women.

METHODS: This study linked cross-sectional data on 6,526 older postmenopausal women from the Women's Health Initiative Long Life Study (2012-2013) to Walk Scores for each participant's address (collected in 2012). Linear and logistic regression models were used to estimate associations of BMI and waist circumference with continuous and categorical Walk Score measures. Secondary analyses examined whether these relationships could be explained by walking expenditure or total physical activity. All analyses were conducted in 2015.

RESULTS: Higher Walk Score was not associated with BMI or overall obesity after adjustment for sociodemographic, medical, and lifestyle factors. However, participants in highly walkable areas had significantly lower odds of abdominal obesity (waist circumference >88 cm) as compared with those in less walkable locations. Observed associations between walkability and adiposity were partly explained by walking expenditure.

CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that neighborhood walkability is linked to abdominal adiposity, as measured by waist circumference, among older women and provide support for future longitudinal research on associations between Walk Score and adiposity in this population.

Rights and Permissions

Citation: Am J Prev Med. 2016 Nov;51(5):722-730. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2016.04.007. Epub 2016 May 17. Link to article on publisher's site

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

American journal of preventive medicine

PubMed ID

27211897