The influence of walkability on broader mobility for Canadian middle aged and older adults: An examination of Walk Score™ and the Mobility Over Varied Environments Scale (MOVES)

Abstract Neighborhood built environments may play an important role in shaping mobility and subsequent health outcomes. However, little work includes broader mobility considerations such as cognitive ability to be mobile, social connections with community, or transportation choices. We used a population-based sample of Canadian middle aged and older adults (aged 45 and older) from the Canadian Community Health Survey-Healthy Aging (CCHS-HA, 2008-2009) to create a holistic mobility measure: Mobility over Varied Environments Scale (MOVES). Data from CCHS-HA respondents from British Columbia with MOVES were linked with Street Smart Walk Score™ data by postal code (n = 2046). Mean MOVES was estimated across sociodemographic and health characteristics. Linear regression, adjusted for relevant covariates, was used to estimate the association between Street Smart Walk Score™ and the MOVES. The mean MOVES was 30.67 (95% confidence interval (CI) 30.36, 30.99), 5th percentile 23.27 (CI 22.16, 24.38) and 95th percentile was 36.93 (CI 35.98, 37.87). MOVES was higher for those who were younger, married, higher socioeconomic status, and had better health. In unadjusted models, for every 10 point increase in Street Smart Walk Score™, MOVES increased 4.84 points (CI 4.52, 5.15). However, results attenuated after adjustment for sociodemographic covariates: each 10 point increase in Street Smart Walk Score™ was associated with a 0.10 (CI 0.00, 0.20) point increase in MOVES. The modest but important link we observed between walkability and mobility highlights the implication of neighborhood design on the health of middle aged and older adults.