Probabilistic walking models using built environment and sociodemographic predictors

Background: Individual sociodemographic and home neighborhood built environment (BE) factors influence the probability of engaging in health-enhancing levels of walking or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Methods are needed to parsimoniously model the associations.

Methods: Participants included 2392 adults drawn from a community-based twin registry living in the Seattle region. Objective BE measures from four domains (regional context, neighborhood composition, destinations, transportation) were taken for neighborhood sizes of 833 and 1666 road network meters from home. Hosmer and Lemeshow’s methods served to fit logistic regression models of walking and MVPA outcomes using sociodemographic and BE predictors. Backward elimination identified variables included in final models, and comparison of receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves determined model fit improvements.

Results: Built environment variables associated with physical activity were reduced from 86 to 5 or fewer. Sociodemographic and BE variables from all four BE domains were associated with activity outcomes but differed by activity type and neighborhood size. For the study population, ROC comparisons indicated that adding BE variables to a base model of sociodemographic factors did not improve the ability to predict walking or MVPA.

Conclusions: Using sociodemographic and built environment factors, the proposed approach can guide the estimation of activity prediction models for different activity types, neighborhood sizes, and discrete BE characteristics. Variables associated with walking and MVPA are population and neighborhood BE-specific.

Moudon AV, Huang R, Stewart OT, Cohen-Cline H, Noonan C, Hurvitz PM, Duncan GE. Probabilistic walking models using built environment and sociodemographic predictors. Popul Health Metr. 2019 Jun 3;17(1):7. PMC6547573.