Green Walkability and Physical Activity in UK Biobank: A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Adults in Greater London

Charlotte Roscoe*, Charlotte Sheridan, Mariya Geneshka, Susan Hodgson, Paolo Vineis, John Gulliver, Daniela Fecht

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Urban greenspace provides opportunities for outdoor exercise and may increase physical activity, with accompanying health benefits. Areas suitable for walking (walkability) are also associated with increased physical activity, but interactions with greenspace are poorly understood. We investigated associations of walkability and green walkability with physical activity in an urban adult cohort. We used cross-sectional data from Greater London UK Biobank participants (n = 57,726) and assessed walkability along roads and footpaths within 1000 m of their residential addresses. Additionally, we assessed green walkability by integrating trees and low-lying vegetation into the walkability index. Physical activity outcomes included self-reported and accelerometer-measured physical activity and active transport. We assessed associations using log-linear, logistic and linear regression models, adjusted for individual-and area-level confounders. Higher green walkability was associated with favourable International Physical Activity Questionnaire responses and achievement of weekly UK government physical activity guideline recommendations. Participants living in the highest versus lowest quintile of green walkability participated in 2.41 min (95% confidence intervals: 0.22, 4.60) additional minutes of moderate-and-vigorous physical activity per day. Higher walkability and green walkability scores were also associated with choosing active transport modes such as walking and cycling. Our green walkability approach demonstrates the utility in accounting for walkability and greenspace simultaneously to understand the role of the built environment on physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4247
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume19
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This research was supported by the MRC Centre for Environment and Health, which is currently funded by the Medical Research Council (MR/S019669/1, 2019–2024). Infrastructure support for the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics was provided by the NIHR Imperial Biomedical Research Centre. This study is part funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Health Protection Research Unit in Chemical and Radiation Threats and Hazards, a partnership between UK Health Security Agency and Imperial College London. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NIHR, UK Health Security Agency or the Department of Health and Social Care.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

Keywords

  • accelerometer
  • greenspace
  • moderate-vigorous physical activity
  • network buffer
  • physical activity
  • prospective cohort
  • street trees
  • urban planning
  • walkability
  • walking

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