Moving to an active lifestyle? A systematic review of the effects of residential relocation on walking, physical activity and travel behaviour

Ding Ding, Binh Nguyen, Vincent Learnihan, Adrian E Bauman, Rachel Davey, Bin Jalaludin, Klaus Gebel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: To synthesise the literature on the effects of neighbourhood environmental change through residential relocation on physical activity, walking and travel behaviour. DESIGN: Systematic review following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines (PROSPERO registration number CRD42017077681). DATA SOURCES: Electronic databases for peer-reviewed and grey literature were systematically searched to March 2017, followed by forward and backward citation tracking. ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: A study was eligible for inclusion if it (1) measured changes in neighbourhood built environment attributes as a result of residential relocation (either prospectively or retrospectively); (2) included a measure of physical activity, walking, cycling or travel modal change as an outcome; (3) was quantitative and (4) included an English abstract or summary.

RESULTS: A total of 23 studies was included in the review. Among the eight retrospective longitudinal studies, there was good evidence for the relationship between relocation and walking (consistency score (CS)>90%). For the 15 prospective longitudinal studies, the evidence for the effects of environmental change/relocation on physical activity or walking was weak to moderate (CS mostly <45%), even weaker for effects on other outcomes, including physical activity, cycling, public transport use and driving. Results from risk of bias analyses support the robustness of the findings. CONCLUSION: The results are encouraging for the retrospective longitudinal relocation studies, but weaker evidence exists for the methodologically stronger prospective longitudinal relocation studies. The evidence base is currently limited, and continued longitudinal research should extend the plethora of cross-sectional studies to build higher-quality evidence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-799
Number of pages11
JournalBritish Journal of Sports Medicine
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018


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