Change in neighborhood traffic safety: Does it matter in terms of physical activity?

B. Jongeneel-Grimen, W. Busschers, J.A.M. van Oers, K. Stronks, P.E.J. Kunst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background
There is limited evidence on the causality of previously observed associations between neighborhood traffic safety and physical activity (PA). This study aims to contribute to this evidence by assessing the extent to which changes over time in neighborhood traffic safety were associated with PA.
Methods
Data were accessed from the national survey Netherlands Housing Research for 2006 and 2009. The two samples of in total 57,092 Dutch residents aged 18–84 years lived in 320 neighbourhoods. Using multi-level hurdle models, the authors assessed whether the odds of being physically active and the mean hours of PA among active people (in 2009) were related to the levels of neighborhood traffic safety (in 2006) and changes in the levels of neighborhood traffic safety (between 2006 and 2009). Next, we examined if these associations varied according to gender, age, and employment status.
Results
Higher levels of neighborhood traffic safety were associated with higher odds of being active (OR 1.080 (1.025–1.139)). An increase in levels of neighborhood traffic safety was associated with increased odds of being active (OR 1.060 (1.006–1.119)). This association was stronger among women, people aged 35 to 59, and those who were gainfully employed. Neither levels of traffic safety nor changes in these levels were associated with the mean hours of PA among people who were physically active (OR 0.997 (0.975–1.020); OR 1.001 (0.978–1.025), respectively).
Conclusion
Not only levels of neighborhood traffic safety, but also increases in neighborhood traffic safety were related to increased odds of being active. This relationship supports claims for a causal relationship between neighborhood traffic safety and PA.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere62525
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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