This research evaluated the effects of a small-scale physical environmental intervention (designated walking route), a social environmental intervention (neighbourhood walking group) and the combination of both on walking behaviour of older adults living in deprived neighbourhoods.
Methods: survey data of 644 older adults residing in four deprived neighbourhoods of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, were used to compare changes in walking behaviour over time. Measurements took place at baseline (T0), and 3 months (T1) and 9 months (T2) after the intervention.
Results: total time spent walking per week increased between T0 and T1 for all conditions. The Incidence Rate Ratio (IRR) for the physical condition was 1.46 (95% CI:1.06;2.05) and for the social intervention 1.52 (95%CI:1.07;2.16). At T2, these differences remained significant for the physical condition, but not for the social condition and the combined condition. These findings were mirrored for utilitarian walking. No evidence was found for an effect on recreational walking.
Conclusion: implementing small scale, feasible, interventions in a residential neighbourhood may increase total and utilitarian walking behaviour among older adults.