Taking Steps Towards Walkability
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Publisher:The Ohio State University
Series/Report no.:The Ohio State University. College of Public Health Honors Theses; 2017
The objective of this study is to examine the potential relationship between walkability and demographic characteristics at the city level. Failure to meet physical activity guidelines contributes to the high burden of chronic disease in the United States. Neighborhood environments that are conducive to physical activity help residents meet physical activity guidelines and lead healthier lives. Walkability is a score that characterizes the neighborhood activity environment; it takes into account distances to various types of destinations at the street-, city-, or zip code-level. Higher Walk Scores have been associated with higher levels of physical activity as well as better health outcomes among residents. To better understand how walkability may differentially affect certain populations, we assessed the Walk Score by income, age, and education among the 50 most populous Ohio cities. Data was collected from the US census and from www.walkscore.com. Walk Score was treated as a continuous score ranging from 0 (least walkable) to 100 (most walkable). We found that a 10-year increase in median age was associated with an 8.7 point decrease in Walk Score while a $10,000 increase in median household income was associated with a 2.0 point decrease in Walk Score. The percent of the population with less than a high school education was not found to have a significant association with Walk Score. These data give us insight into how Walk Score is associated with certain city-level characteristics. Future research should investigate the walkability of neighborhoods within cities so that policymakers can begin to take steps towards creating better built environments to improve physical activity and health outcomes.
Academic Major: Public Health