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Psychology and Mental Health

Chicago, USA
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Objectively-measured neighborhood environments and leisure-time physical activity in Chinese urban elders

Author(s): Cerin E, Lee KY, Barnett A, Sit CH, Cheung MC, Chan W



The built environment may impact on elders' ability to engage in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). Environmental correlates of LTPA in older Chinese residents of ultra-dense cities are unknown. The main aim of this study was to identify the aspects of the neighborhood environment associated with LTPA of Chinese elders residing in an ultra-dense city and able to walk unassisted.


This study was conducted in Hong Kong in 2007–2008. We investigated the relationships of neighborhood environmental attributes (environmental audits) with LTPA (interviewer-administered questionnaire) in 484 elders able to walk unassisted and living in 32 neighborhoods stratified by socio-economic status and walkability.


The amount of recreational walking was positively related to the availability of parks (eb = 1.03; 95% CI = 1.02, 1.05) and several other environmental attributes. The odds of non-participation in other LTPA (OLTPA) were related to availability of recreational facilities (ORs from 0.96 to 0.99) and infrastructure, aesthetics, and safety aspects of the neighborhood. These aspects also moderated the relationships of recreational facilities with non-participation in OLTPA, being negative only in safe, aesthetically-pleasing locations with good infrastructure.


Safe, aesthetically-pleasing, low-pollution neighborhoods with easy access to recreational and public facilities may facilitate the engagement in LTPA in Chinese urban elders able to walk unassisted.

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