US neighborhood walkability influences physical activity, BMI levels – BU

Published in the journal Obesity, the study examined perceived neighborhood walkability, physical activity, and obesity among adults in the US and found that people in highly walkable neighborhoods were more likely to engage in adequate physical activity, walk near their home, and have a lower body mass index (BMI)—an established indicator of obesity—compared to people in low-walkability neighborhoods. Previous studies have linked walkability with increased physical activity and lower obesity rates, but this study is the first to examine this relationship on a national level.

Notably, the findings revealed that the link between perceived walkability and physical activity differed by race and ethnicity. Black, Hispanic, and Asian residents were less likely to engage in physical activity or walk near their home, despite a greater proportion of residents of color living in high-walkability neighborhoods, compared to White residents.

For the study, Wang and colleagues utilized demographic and health-related data from a nationally representative survey that gathers information on illness, disability, chronic impairments, health insurance, healthcare access, and health services use in 2020, among US adults ages 18 and older.

They found that adults who live in walkable neighborhoods were 1.5 times more likely to engage in adequate levels of physical activity, and 0.76 times less likely to have obesity, compared to adults living in neighborhoods with low walkability.

However, the team found that the association between perceived walkability and BMI levels differed among certain racial/ethnic groups. Among White, Black, Hispanic, and Asian participants, BMI levels decreased as their perception of their neighborhood walkability increased. But among American Indian/Alaska Native and multiracial/other-race adults, BMI levels increased as perceptions of neighborhood walkability increased.

“While individuals may perceive their neighborhoods to be walkable, it may not be safe, desirable, or normative to walk in these communities,” Dr. Wang says. “This is particularly relevant for communities who have been displaced, whether historically by force or through gentrification. This suggests that a combination of approaches—such as improving pedestrian and public transit infrastructure, implementing policies that slow traffic, enhancing park quality, and community programming—are needed to promote walkability and well-being.”


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6 responses to “US neighborhood walkability influences physical activity, BMI levels – BU

  1. I don’t have a bike but I love walking. I hope to keep it up and increase my speed. Right now I walk just to enjoy the sights in the neighborhood.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. narendra saini

    Great Sir

    Liked by 1 person

  3. narendra saini

    Dear Sir, I always follow U and try for good health as directed/advised by yourself .
    Narendra Saini

    Liked by 1 person

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