Green space is associated with walking and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in middle-to-older-aged adults: findings from 203 883 Australians in the 45 and Up Study
- 1School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- 2Centre of Health Research, School of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
- 3School of Geography and Geosciences, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK
- Correspondence to Dr Thomas Astell-Burt, School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Sydney, NSW 2751, Australia;
- Accepted 29 March 2013
- Published Online First 30 April 2013
Background Green space is widely hypothesised to promote physical activity. Few studies, however, examine whether this is the case for walking and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). We investigated to what extent neighbourhood green space was associated with weekly participation and frequency of walking and MVPA in a large cross-sectional survey of Australian adults 45 years and older.
Methods Logit and negative binomial regression were used to estimate the degree of association between walking, MVPA and neighbourhood green space in a sample of 203 883 adults from the Australian 45 and Up Study. Walking and MVPA were measured using the Active Australia Survey. Green space was measured as a percentage of the total land-use within 1 km radius of residence. We controlled for a range of individual and neighbourhood characteristics.
Results 86.6% of the sample walked and 85.8% participated in MVPA at least once a week. These rates fell steeply with age. Compared with residents of neighbourhoods containing 0–20% green space, those in greener areas were significantly more likely to walk and participate in MVPAs at least once a week (trend for both p<0.001). Among those participating at least once a week, residents of neighbourhoods containing 80%+ green space participated with a greater frequency of walking (incidence rate ratio (IRR) 1.09, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.13) and MVPA (IRR 1.10, 95% CI 1.05 to 1.15).
Conclusions Our findings suggest that the amount of green space available to adults in middle-to-older age within their neighbourhood environments could help to promote walking and MVPA.