Living in a well-serviced urban area is associated with maintenance of frequent walking among seniors in the VoisiNuAge study

Lise Gauvin*, Lucie Richard, Yan Kestens, Bryna Shatenstein, Mark Daniel, Spencer D. Moore, Genevive Mercille, Hélne Payette

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. This paper examined whether or not closer proximity to local services and amenities was associated with maintenance of more frequent walking over time among urban-dwelling seniors over and above individual-level characteristics.Method. A sample of 521 adults who were part of the VoisiNuAge study and who resided in a large North American urban area reported on the frequency of walking outside the home over a 3-year period and on their health, sociodemographic characteristics, social support and resources, and perceptions of different features of their residential environment. Information about the distance between their home and 16 services and amenities was obtained from a geographic information system. Seniors were then classified into quartiles of proximity (Q1, Q2, Q3, Q4).Results. Unadjusted and adjusted ordinal growth curve models showed that closer proximity to services and amenities was associated with greater likelihood of frequent walking at all times throughout the 3-year period.Discussion. Findings are consistent with the notion that environments may act as buoys for the maintenance of important health behaviors. Future experimental and quasi-experimental research is required to explore whether or not the environment can play a causal role in influencing patterns of walking over time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-88
Number of pages13
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Volume67 B
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Activity levels
  • Cohort analysis
  • Epidemiology
  • Health promotion
  • Living environments
  • Longitudinal methods
  • Multi-level models
  • Observational studies
  • Physical activity
  • Walking


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