Next Article in Journal
Health Inequality between Migrant and Non-Migrant Workers in an Industrial Zone of Vietnam
Next Article in Special Issue
Winter City Urbanism: Enabling All Year Connectivity for Soft Mobility
Previous Article in Journal
Mosquito Acetylcholinesterase as a Target for Novel Phenyl-Substituted Carbamates
Previous Article in Special Issue
Children’s Transport Built Environments: A Mixed Methods Study of Associations between Perceived and Objective Measures and Relationships with Parent Licence for Independent Mobility in Auckland, New Zealand
Open AccessArticle

How Do Neighbourhood Definitions Influence the Associations between Built Environment and Physical Activity?

1
SHORE and Whariki Research Centre, School of Public Health, Massey University, P.O. Box 6137, Auckland 1141, New Zealand
2
Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
3
The Visualisation and Decision Analytics (VIDEA) lab, Centre for Mental Health Research, Research School of Population Health, College of Health and Medicine, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
4
Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Saitama 359-1192, Japan
5
Behavioural Epidemiology Laboratory, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
6
Prevention Research Center, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA
7
Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne, VIC 3052, Australia
8
School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Victoria University, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(9), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16091501
Received: 8 April 2019 / Revised: 18 April 2019 / Accepted: 19 April 2019 / Published: 28 April 2019
Researchers investigating relationships between the neighbourhood environment and health first need to decide on the spatial extent of the neighbourhood they are interested in. This decision is an important and ongoing methodological challenge since different methods of defining and delineating neighbourhood boundaries can produce different results. This paper explores this issue in the context of a New Zealand-based study of the relationship between the built environment and multiple measures of physical activity. Geographic information systems were used to measure three built environment attributes—dwelling density, street connectivity, and neighbourhood destination accessibility—using seven different neighbourhood definitions (three administrative unit boundaries, and 500, 800, 1000- and 1500-m road network buffers). The associations between the three built environment measures and five measures of physical activity (mean accelerometer counts per hour, percentage time in moderate–vigorous physical activity, self-reported walking for transport, self-reported walking for recreation and self-reported walking for all purposes) were modelled for each neighbourhood definition. The combination of the choice of neighbourhood definition, built environment measure, and physical activity measure determined whether evidence of an association was detected or not. Results demonstrated that, while there was no single ideal neighbourhood definition, the built environment was most consistently associated with a range of physical activity measures when the 800-m and 1000-m road network buffers were used. For the street connectivity and destination accessibility measures, associations with physical activity were less likely to be detected at smaller scales (less than 800 m). In line with some previous research, this study demonstrated that the choice of neighbourhood definition can influence whether or not an association between the built environment and adults’ physical activity is detected or not. This study additionally highlighted the importance of the choice of built environment attribute and physical activity measures. While we identified the 800-m and 1000-m road network buffers as the neighbourhood definitions most consistently associated with a range of physical activity measures, it is important that researchers carefully consider the most appropriate type of neighbourhood definition and scale for the particular aim and participants, especially at smaller scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: neighbourhood; scale; built environment; physical activity; walking neighbourhood; scale; built environment; physical activity; walking
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Mavoa, S.; Bagheri, N.; Koohsari, M.J.; Kaczynski, A.T.; Lamb, K.E.; Oka, K.; O’Sullivan, D.; Witten, K. How Do Neighbourhood Definitions Influence the Associations between Built Environment and Physical Activity? Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 1501.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop