Physical and social environmental changes to promote walking among Dutch older adults in deprived neighbourhoods: the NEW. ROADS study

R. G. Prins, C. B. M. Kamphuis, J. M. de Graaf, A. Oenema, F. J. van Lenthe*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Physical activity is important for healthy ageing, and daily walking is seen as a feasible way to be active at older ages. Yet, many older persons, particularly in lower socioeconomic groups and residing in deprived neighbourhoods, are insufficiently active. Creating a physical and social neighbourhood environment that is more supportive for walking has the potential to improve walking behaviour. Current evidence of the impact of changes to the physical and/or social environmental on walking behaviour is scarce. The aim of the NEW. ROADS study is to design, implement and evaluate changes to the physical and social environment for the purpose of increasing walking behaviour among older residents of deprived neighbourhoods. Methods: Physical and social environmental interventions were developed by matching scientific evidence on environmental determinants of walking, with input from the target population and stakeholders, and ongoing neighbourhood activities. Specifically, a neighbourhood walking route was designed and marked, and neighbourhood walking groups were organised. These environmental interventions were evaluated in a four-armed experimental study. In addition, the design of the study to evaluate the effect of these environmental changes on walking behaviour is described. Discussion: Designing and implementing environmental interventions is a complex endeavour, challenged by limited available theory and evidence. Input from the target population and professional stakeholders is essential, but may also put constraints on the evaluation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number907
JournalBMC Public Health
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2016

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