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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(10), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14101199

Associations between Perceived Neighborhood Walkability and Walking Time, Wellbeing, and Loneliness in Community-Dwelling Older Chinese People in Hong Kong

1,2,* , 1
,
2,3,4
and
1,2
1
Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
2
CUHK Jockey Club Institute of Ageing, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
3
Institute of Future Cities, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
4
Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 28 August 2017 / Revised: 4 October 2017 / Accepted: 5 October 2017 / Published: 9 October 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ageing Well: The Role of Age-Friendly Environments)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [325 KB, uploaded 10 October 2017]

Abstract

This study examined the cross-sectional associations between perceived neighborhood walkability and walking time, physical activity, wellbeing, and loneliness, and examined which components of walkability were most strongly associated with better wellbeing and less loneliness in older adults. Participants were community-dwelling Chinese adults aged 60+ (n = 181). Walkability was measured using nine items selected from the Chinese version of the abbreviated Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scales (NEWS) and NEWS for Chinese Seniors. Outcomes were walking time, physical activity, wellbeing (life satisfaction, happiness, sense of purpose and meaning in life), and loneliness. The mean age of the participants was 71.7 ± 7.8 years. Walkability was positively associated with walking time (p = 0.001, p for trend <0.001) but not with physical activity. After adjusting for socio-demographic characteristics, health conditions, lifestyle, and negative life events, those who perceived their neighborhoods as walkable had higher scores for life satisfaction (p = 0.002) and happiness (p = 0.002), and lower scores for loneliness (p = 0.019), compared with those who perceived their neighborhoods as less walkable. However, perceived neighborhood walkability was not associated with sense of purpose and meaning in life. Among components of walkability, land use mix-access, infrastructure and safety for walking, and traffic safety showed the strongest associations with the measures of wellbeing. The results of this study support the importance of neighborhood walkability for health behavior and wellbeing of older adults. The wellbeing of older adults may be enhanced through the improvement of land use mix-access, infrastructure for walking, and traffic safety. View Full-Text
Keywords: perceived neighborhood walkability; walking time; physical activity; wellbeing; life satisfaction; happiness; sense of purpose and meaning in life; loneliness perceived neighborhood walkability; walking time; physical activity; wellbeing; life satisfaction; happiness; sense of purpose and meaning in life; loneliness
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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Yu, R.; Cheung, O.; Lau, K.; Woo, J. Associations between Perceived Neighborhood Walkability and Walking Time, Wellbeing, and Loneliness in Community-Dwelling Older Chinese People in Hong Kong. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1199.

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