Identifying and promoting safe walking routes in older adults


Background: Walking for physical activity is important for older adults' physical and mental health. We developed and tested the reliability of an environmental audit tool designed to be used by lay people to identify appropriate walking routes for older adults trying to increase their physical activity. Methods: A 44-item Walking Route Audit Tool for Seniors (WRATS) was developed based on literature review and input from older adults during focus groups. Observers completed the tool for 24 walking routes which were specifically selected to maximize variability in environment features and quality. Inter-rater reliability was assessed using Kappa and percent agreement. Results: Inter-rater reliability was good to excellent for 27 of the 44 WRATS items and moderate for 9 items. ICCs were good to excellent for 6 of the 8 scales (ICCs = 0.61 to 0.90). Conclusions: These results provide evidence for the reliability of WRATS for evaluating environmental attributes of walking routes suitable for older adults. Some scales need further refinement, and validity should be tested in a sample of older adults.

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Kerr, J. , Carlson, J. , Rosenberg, D. and Withers, A. (2012) Identifying and promoting safe walking routes in older adults. Health, 4, 720-724. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.429112.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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