Walkability, overweight, and obesity in adults: A systematic review of observational studies

João Paulo Dos Anjos Souza Barbosa, Paulo Henrique Guerra, Crislaine de Oliveira Santos, Ana Paula de Oliveira Barbosa Nunes, Gavin Turrell, Alex Antonio Florindo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


We conducted a systematic review to describe and summarize possible associations between the walkability index, overweight, and obesity. Systematic searches using seven electronic databases and reference lists were conducted to identify papers published until December 2017. Observational studies, describing associations using regression-based statistical methods, published in English and Portuguese, reporting markers of overweight and obesity, and involving adults (≥18 years) were included. Of the 2469 references initially retrieved, ten were used for the descriptive synthesis. Seven studies showed significant inverse associations between walkability and overweight and obesity, however, all were cross-sectional studies. High risk of bias scores were observed in “selection bias” and “withdrawals and dropouts”. All studies were published in high-income countries with sample sizes ranging among 75 to 649,513 participants. Weight and height as measures for determining BMI tended to be self-reported. Indicators of walkability, such as land-use mix, street connectivity and residential density were used as components of the indices. Based on this review, more studies should be conducted in low, middle, and middle-high income countries, using longitudinal designs that control neighborhood self-selection; other indicators of the neighborhood environment, such as food access, physical activity facilities, sidewalks, and safety and crime prevention should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3135
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2019
Externally publishedYes


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