Understanding how community form contributes to the health and wellbeing of people

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Understanding how community form contributes to the health and wellbeing of people

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The physical form of communities can impact either positively or negatively on the health and wellbeing of people who live, work and play in them in many ways. For example, community form plays an important role in our lifestyle choices. The World Health Organisation estimates that one-third of population physical inactivity levels can be reduced through the physical design of communities alone. The physical form of communities also impacts on people’s access to services and independent mobility in the young and elderly. However, often the health impacts of communities when they are being planned and developed are not taken into consideration. Understanding how communities shape human health and wellbeing can assist in developing healthy policies and practices of public and private planners and developers, improving the health and wellbeing of people in them.

This research consists of a series of studies that investigate the individual-, household- and community-level attributes associated with human health and wellbeing using routinely-collected household travel survey data administered by the Queensland Government Department of Transport and Main Roads.

Examples of study objectives include, examining:

  • the extent to which Walk Score (accessibility to destinations) is related to the occurrence and duration of adults’ context-specific walking for transport to/from home.

  • how adults living in low and high socio-economic neighbourhoods vary in active transport behaviours (walking for transport, public transport use) and sedentary transport (car use); and how the associations may be modified by population density.

  • the prevalence of short car trips that can be converted into either walking or cycling, taking the distance of trip chains into account; and the socio-demographic and environmental correlates of short car trips.

  • the prevalence of public transport use and mean distance and duration of walking for those who use public transport, walk and drive among older adults aged 60 to 84 years.

  • associations of street integration with adults’ and older adults’ walking for transport and sedentary travel behaviour (car use).

  • how three older adult age groups, 60-64, 65-71, and 72-84 years, differ in their associations of Walk Score with home-based walking.

  • how far/long adults and older adults aged 60 to 84 years walk.

Collaborators
  • Dr Rachel Cole, USC

  • Associate Professor Peter Dunn, USC

  • Ian Hunter, Queensland Health

  • Dr Takemi Sugiyama, Australian Catholic University

  • Prof Neville Owen, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes

  • Dr Javad Koosari, Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes

  • International Society of Physical Activity and Health – Transport Data Chapter

  • Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

Expected research outcomes
  • Develop potential public health indicators for policy and practice to be used in community planning and development

  • Determine ways of linking existing routinely-collected data to quantify and monitor public health outcomes and understand the interplay of the build environment, transportation, policies, perceived social norms, and changes at the household level

  • Identify target sub-population groups and communities in for public health intervention

Related publications

Cole, R., Dunn, P. K., Hunter, I., Owen, N., Sugiyama, T., 2015, Walk Score and Australian adults' home-based walking for transport. Health & Place, 35, 60-65.

Sugiyama, T., Neuhaus, M., Cole, R., Giles-Corti, B., Owen, N., 2012, Destination and route attributes associated with adults walking: A review. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 44(7), 1275–1286.

Speaker: World Congress on Active Ageing 2016, 28 June - 1 July 2016. Melbourne, Victoria. Cole R, Hunter I, Dunn P, Owen N, Sugiyama T. "Age-Specific Associations of Walk Score with Older Australian Adults’ Home-Based Walking."

Speaker: World Congress on Active Ageing 2016, 28 June - 1 July 2016. Melbourne, Victoria.

Cole R, Hunter I, Owen N, Sugiyama T. "Older Adults’ Use of Public Transport: Prevalence and Association with Walking"

Co-author: World Congress on Active Ageing 2016, 28 June - 1 July 2016. Melbourne, Victoria.

Koohsari J, Owen N, Cole R, Hunter I, Oka K, Sugiyama T. "Urban design supporting active ageing: Role of street layouts"

Co-author: World Congress on Active Ageing 2016, 28 June - 1 July 2016. Melbourne, Victoria.

Sugiyama T, Cole R, Hunter I, Owen N. "How Far/Long Older Adults Walk? Descriptive Study on Household Travel Survey"

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