Employees at worksites with higher property values tended to do more walking, according to a study from the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Nursing and the College of Built Environment. The study, conducted in the Seattle area, also found that employees walked more and ate more fruits and vegetables if they worked in neighborhoods with a greater density of residential units.
The study was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and is consistent with other studies linking higher socioeconomic status (SES) of home neighborhoods with more walking. Neighborhoods with higher SES tend to be more walkable, researchers said, perhaps because of greater tax revenue. Researchers used data from the Promoting Activity and Changes in Eating Study in Seattle and included surveys of more than 1,000 employees at 26 worksites. Researchers also analyzed worksite property values, residential density, and the built environment in surrounding neighborhoods.
“This has public health implications given that a large segment of the adult population works and potentially spends a significant portion of its waking hours in this environment,” the authors wrote. “….Providing environments that support walking may be key to more widespread adoption of physical activity behaviors through active living (e.g. walking to and from work, stores and parks).”
First author was Dr. Wendy Barrington, adjunct assistant professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health and assistant professor of psychosocial and community health in the School of Nursing. Co-authors were Dr. Shirley Beresford, associate dean of the School of Public Health, professor of epidemiology and adjunct professor of health services; Dr. Thomas Koepsell, professor emeritus of epidemiology and health services; Dr. Glen Duncan, associate professor of epidemiology, and Dr. Anne Vernez-Moudon, professor of urban design and planning and adjunct professor of epidemiology.