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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(6), 569; doi:10.3390/ijerph13060569

Interactions between Neighborhood Social Environment and Walkability to Explain Belgian Older Adults’ Physical Activity and Sedentary Time

Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Ghent University, Watersportlaan 2, Ghent B-9000, Belgium
Research Foundation Flanders (FWO), Egmontstraat 5, Brussels B-1000, Belgium
Department of Public Health, Ghent University, De Pintelaan 185, 4K3, Ghent B-9000, Belgium
Department of Human Biometry and Biomechanics, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, Brussels B-1050, Belgium
Department of Geography, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 (S8), Ghent B-9000, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 10 February 2016 / Revised: 20 May 2016 / Accepted: 2 June 2016 / Published: 7 June 2016
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This study examined associations between neighborhood social factors and physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior (SB) in older adults. Furthermore, possible moderating effects of neighborhood walkability were explored. Data from 431 community-dwelling Belgian older adults (≥65 years) were analyzed. Neighborhood social factors included measures of neighboring, social trust and cohesion and social diversity. Neighborhood walkability was measured objectively. Outcome measures were self-reported weekly minutes of domain-specific walking and TV viewing, and accelerometer-assessed weekly minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and overall SB. A higher frequency of talking to neighbors was associated with higher levels of self-reported walking for transport and for recreation. Moderation analyses showed that only in highly-walkable neighborhoods, higher social diversity of the neighborhood environment was associated with more transport walking; and talking to neighbors and social interactions among neighbors were negatively associated with overall SB and television viewing, respectively. Findings suggest that a combination of a favorable neighborhood social and physical environment are important to promote older adults’ PA and limit SB. View Full-Text
Keywords: aging in place; elderly; walking; sitting; socio-ecological models aging in place; elderly; walking; sitting; socio-ecological models

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Van Holle, V.; Van Cauwenberg, J.; De Bourdeaudhuij, I.; Deforche, B.; Van de Weghe, N.; Van Dyck, D. Interactions between Neighborhood Social Environment and Walkability to Explain Belgian Older Adults’ Physical Activity and Sedentary Time. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 569.

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