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Background and Objectives: To examine prospective associations of perceived attributes of local destinations and routes with middle-to-older aged adults’ 4-year changes in walking for transport (WT) and walking for recreation (WR). Research Design and Methods: Data were collected from adults aged 50–64 years old, living in Adelaide, Australia. Participants (N = 454) reported weekly frequency of WT and WR at baseline (2003–2004) and follow-up (2007–2008). Attributes of local destinations and routes were based on self-reported measures at baseline and included: proximity to utilitarian and recreational destinations, the number of such destinations within 10 and 11–20 min walk from home, street connectivity, and walking paths. Generalized additive mixed models were used to examine the associations of perceived destination and route attributes with changes in frequency of WT and WR. Results: Higher levels of perceived proximity to utilitarian destinations, reporting a larger number of utilitarian destinations within 10 min walk from home and higher street connectivity were associated with more positive changes in frequency of WT. Higher levels of perceived proximity to recreational destinations and better walking paths were associated with more positive changes in frequency of WR. No curvilinear relationships were observed and baseline frequency of walking did not moderate the associations. Discussion and Implications: Proximity of utilitarian and recreational destinations, well-connected streets, and better walking paths can be supportive of long-term participation in walking among middle-to-older aged adults. Environmental and policy initiatives focusing on such destination and route attributes have the potential to support residents’ aging in place.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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