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Why Some Walk and Others Don't

Neighborhood Safety and the Sociodemographic Variation Effect on Walking for Leisure and Transportation

Aliyas, Zeinab PhD

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: April 05, 2019 - Volume Publish Ahead of Print - Issue - p
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000992
Research Full Report: PDF Only

Objective: The study was aimed at assessing the association of all components of safety (crime, traffic, social, and physical) and general safety with walking for leisure and transportation among Iranian adults. In this regard, sociodemographic factors as potential effect modifiers on walking behavior and the association of neighborhood safety with the level of walking were explored.

Method: A total of 1300 questionnaires were distributed among respondents residing in 8 neighborhoods in Bandar Abbas city, among which 1132 qualified for use in further analysis. Using a binary logistic regression method, differences in walking behavior and perceived safety to walk were evaluated across sociodemographic characteristics.

Results: The results showed that the walking rate is higher among older adults, married people, and adults with lower education and a higher length of residency. An increase in neighborhood safety from crime, traffic, social disorders, and overall safety associates with increased leisure walking among all populations. Further, overall neighborhood safety and safety from crime and traffic positively correlate with the level of transportation walking among all respondents. For both types of walking, this association varies in sociodemographic groups.

Conclusion: The study suggests that an increase in the safety of a neighborhood contributes to a higher level of leisure and transportation walking; however, it varies in different subgroups. This study provides the knowledge needed to consider all aspects of neighborhood safety to measure walking behavior level.

Young Researchers and Elite Club, Bandar Abbas Branch, Islamic Azad University, Bandar Abbas, Iran.

Correspondence: Zeinab Aliyas, PhD, Department of Architecture, Engineering Faculty, Islamic Azad University of Bandar Abbas, Bandar Abbas 7915893144, Hormozgan, Iran (;

This study was undertaken as part of the research project, supported by the Deputy Research Directorate of Islamic Azad University, Bandar Abbas Branch, Iran. The author thanks all the residents of the neighborhoods who participated in the study and also thank his students for their excellent research assistance.

The autonomy of the participants was fully respected and written information, including the purpose of the study, use and application of the study, assurance of their right to refuse, and the security of personal information, was provided to each participant. All participants signed a consent form to participate in this study. Before commencing data collection, ethical clearance was applied for and approved by the deputy research directorate of Islamic Azad University, Bandar Abbas Branch, Iran.

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The author declares no conflicts of interest.

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