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Associations between characteristics of neighbourhood open space and older people's walking

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2008


The majority of older people in the UK are not sufficiently active. Since physical inactivity is a very common, yet preventable, health risk, promoting an active lifestyle is considered one of the most important health initiatives. In recent research on physical activity, an increasing interest has been paid to the role of environmental variables. Such research has demonstrated that overall characteristics of neighbourhood environments predict residents’ physical activity patterns. However, there is a limited understanding about how natural, open spaces in a neighbourhood such as parks are involved in people’s activity. This study examines what aspects of neighbourhood open space are associated with walking for recreation and for transport by older people. The study sample consisted of 286 people over 65 years old living in Britain who completed a self administered questionnaire. Logistic regression analyses were carried out to examine associations between the level of walking and six attributes of neighbourhood open space, which were identified through principal component analysis. It was found that pleasantness of open space and lack of nuisance were associated with walking for recreation, while good paths to reach open space and good facilities in open space were conducive to more walking for transport. The study suggests the possibility that enhancing these aspects of neighbourhood open spaces may contribute to active lifestyles of older adults.

    Research areas

  • ageing, active living, natural setting, outdoor environment, park

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