Walk Score and objectively measured physical activity within a national cohort

There have been mixed findings regarding the relationship between walkability and level of physical activity in adults.

Participants from The REasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) national cohort (N=7561) were used to examine the association between Walk Score and physical activity measured via accelerometry. The subsample included geographically diverse adults, who identified as black or white, and were over the age of 45. Linear regression was used to examine the direct effects, as well as the interaction, of Walk Score by sex, age and race.

The majority of participants lived in a 'Very Car-Dependent' location (N=4115). Only 527 lived in a location that was 'Very Walkable/Walker's Paradise'. Living in a location with a Walk Score of 'Very Car-Dependent' compared with 'Very Walkable/Walker's Paradise' was associated with 19% (0.81; 95% CI 0.73 to 0.90) lower predicted minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day, after adjustment for covariates. There was no evidence of statistically significant interactions between Walk Score and sex, age or race (p>0.05).

Accumulated daily time in moderate to vigorous physical activity was higher for participants living in neighbourhoods designated as 'Very Walkable/Walker's Paradise'. This effect was not moderated by sex, age or race of participants.