Gender and age differences in walking for transport and recreation: Are the relationships the same in all neighborhoods?

F. Ghani, J. N. Rachele, S. Washington, G. Turrell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)
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Introduction: Walking as regular physical activity (PA) is central to healthy aging, and environments influence walking. Multilevel neighborhood-based studies that only report average (fixed-effect) walking differences for gender and age implicitly assume that neighborhood environments influence the walking behavior of men and women, and younger and older persons, similarly. This study tests this assumption by examining whether gender and age differences in walking for transport (WfT) and walking for recreation (WfR) are similar or different across neighborhoods. Methods: This paper used data from the HABITAT multilevel study, with 7,866 participants aged 42-68 years in 2009 living in 200 neighborhoods in Brisbane, Australia. Respondents reported minutes spent WfT and WfR in the previous week, categorized as: none (0 mins), low (1-59mins), moderate (60-149mins) and high (≥ 150 mins). Multilevel multinomial logistic models were used to estimate average differences in walking by gender and age, followed by random coefficients to examine neighborhood variation in these individual-level relationships. Results: On average, women were more likely to engage in WfR at moderate and high levels (no gender differences found in WfT); and older persons were less likely to do WfT and more likely to do high levels of WfR. These average (Brisbane-wide) relationships varied significantly across neighborhoods. Conclusion: Relationships between gender and walking, and age and walking, are not the same in all neighborhoods, (i.e. the Brisbane average conceals important information) suggesting that neighborhood-level factors differentially influence the walking behaviors of men and women and younger and older persons. Identifying these factors should be a priority for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine Reports
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


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