Introduction: Neighborhood walkability and neighborhood social cohesion have been shown to contribute to physical activity. However, limited research has examined neighborhood social cohesion as a moderator in the association between neighborhood walkability and aerobic physical activity among Latino adults. We examined associations of neighborhood walkability using measures assessing built environment and safety, with meeting the aerobic activity guideline among a large nationally representative diverse sample of Latino adults.
Methods: We used cross-sectional data from 4,765 NHIS 2015 Latino participants 18 years of age and older. Neighborhood walkability was assessed based on self-reported measures of built environment (e.g., presence of sidewalks, presence of paths/trails) and neighborhood safety (e.g., presence of traffic, crime). A neighborhood walkability score was created by combining the built environment and neighborhood safety items, with a higher score indicating higher walkability. Aerobic activity was categorized as meeting versus not meeting the aerobic activity guideline, based on 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Neighborhood social cohesion was measured based on self-reported items assessing perceived neighborhood social cohesion. Survey logistic regression was used to compute odds ratios [OR] and 95% confidence intervals [CI], with covariates adjusting for age, sex, education, acculturation, and neighborhood social cohesion. Effect modification by neighborhood social cohesion was tested by inclusion of a neighborhood walkability and neighborhood social cohesion interaction term.
Results: On average the sample was 44 years old, 44% were male, 36% had less than a high school education, and 58% were foreign-born. After adjusting for age, sex, education, and acculturation, a one-unit higher neighborhood walkability score was associated with significantly higher odds of meeting the aerobic physical activity guideline (OR: 1.08; 95% CI: 1.05, 1.11), relative to not meeting the aerobic activity guideline. After adding neighborhood social cohesion to the adjusted model, the association between neighborhood walkability and meeting the aerobic activity guideline was slightly attenuated, but remained significant (OR: 1.07; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.11). Results from the effect modification test indicated that the neighborhood walkability and neighborhood social cohesion interaction term was not significant.
Conclusions: These findings suggest that neighborhood walkability contributes to meeting the aerobic physical activity guideline among Latino adults. However, neighborhood social cohesion does not moderate the association between neighborhood walkability and meeting the aerobic activity guideline.