Socio-environmental factors may affect uptake and utility of behavioral interventions targeting weight loss and cardiometabolic health. To evaluate the relation of neighborhood walkability to physical activity (PA) and glucose control in a sample of adults with overweight/obesity participating in a weight loss study.
Secondary analysis of a 12-month behavioral weight loss intervention (2011–2015) using one-group pretest–posttest design. Neighborhood walkability was assessed via residential Walk Score (0–100) at study entry. Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) via phlebotomy and PA via waist-worn ActiGraph GT3X were assessed at baseline and end of study. Study variables included neighborhood walkability (car-dependent: Walk Score < 50 vs. walkable: Walk Score ≥ 50), prediabetes (FPG 100–125 mg/dL), and recommended PA (moderate to vigorous PA [MVPA] > 22 min/day). Generalized linear model with logit link results were reported as adjusted odds ratios (AOR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI).
The sample (N = 114) was mostly female (88.6%), white (83.3%), college educated (73.7%), and on average 51.4 ± 1.0 years of age. At baseline, persons residing in car-dependent neighborhoods tended to have higher income than those in walkable neighborhoods. Neighborhood walkability interacted with household income at study entry to predict participants’ ability to meet the MVPA goal at 12 months (AOR = 13.52, 95% CI: 1.86–119.20). Those from walkable neighborhoods had 67% lower odds of having prediabetes compared to those from car-dependent neighborhoods (AOR = 0.33, 95% CI: 0.10–0.87) at 12 months.
Our findings corroborate previous research characterizing the relationship between neighborhood walkability, PA, and prediabetes status. Key drivers of this impact warrant further investigation in a study with a larger, more diverse sample.