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Neighborhood Walkability, Income, and Hour-by-Hour Physical Activity Patterns


Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: April 2013 - Volume 45 - Issue 4 - p 698–705
doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31827a1d05

Purpose This study aimed to investigate both the mean daily physical activity and the hour-by-hour physical activity patterns across the day using accelerometry and how they are associated with neighborhood walkability and individual income.

Methods Moderate physical activity (MPA) was assessed by accelerometry in 2252 adults in the city of Stockholm, Sweden. Neighborhood walkability (residential density, street connectivity, and land use mix) was objectively assessed within 1000m network buffers around the participants’ residence and individual income was self-reported.

Results Living in a high walkability neighborhood was associated with more mean daily MPA compared with living in a low walkability neighborhood on weekdays and weekend days. Hour-by-hour analyses showed that this association appeared mainly in the afternoon/early evening during weekdays, whereas it appeared across the middle of the day during weekend days. Individual income was associated with mean daily MPA on weekend days. On weekdays, the hour-by-hour analyses showed that high income was associated with more MPA around noon and in late afternoon/early evening, whereas low income was associated with more MPA at the hours before noon and in the early afternoon. During the weekend, high income was more consistently associated with higher MPA.

Conclusions Hour-by-hour accelerometry physical activity patterns provides a more comprehensive picture of the associations between neighborhood walkability and individual income and physical activity and the variability of these associations across the day.

Center for Primary Health Care Research, Lund University, SWEDEN

Address for correspondence: Daniel Arvidsson, Ph.D., Center for Primary Health Care Research, CRC, Jan Waldenströms gata 35, Floor 11, 205 02 Malmö, Sweden; E-mail:

Submitted for publication July 2012.

Accepted for publication October 2012.

©2013The American College of Sports Medicine