Construct validity of the neighborhood environment walkability scale for Africa

Oyeyemi, Adewale L. and Conway, Terry L. and Adedoyin, Rufus A. and Akinroye, Kingsley K. and Aryeetey, Richmond and Assah, Felix and Cain, Kelli L. and Gavand, Kavita A. and Kosoma, Sandra S. and Kolbe-Alexander, Tracy L. ORCID: and Lambert, Estelle V. and Larouche, Richard and Moss, Sarah J. and Ocansey, Reginald and Onywera, Vincent O. and Prista, Antonio and Tremblay, Mark S. and Sallis, James F. (2017) Construct validity of the neighborhood environment walkability scale for Africa. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 49 (3). pp. 482-491. ISSN 0195-9131


Purpose: The development of valid measures of built environments relevant for physical activity is an important step toward controlling the global epidemic of physical inactivity–related noncommunicable diseases and deaths. This study assessed the construct validity of a self-report neighborhood environment walkability scale adapted for Africa (NEWS-Africa), by examining relationships with self-reported walking for transportation and recreation using pooled data from six sub-Saharan African countries.

Methods: NEWS was systematically adapted to assess urban, periurban, and rural environments in sub-Saharan Africa. Adults (n = 469, 18–85 yr, 49.7% women) from Cameroon, Ghana, Mozambique, Nigeria, South Africa, and Uganda were purposively recruited from neighborhoods varying in walkability and socioeconomic status, with some from
villages. Participants completed the 76-item (13 subscales) NEWS-Africa by structured interview and reported weekly minutes of walking for transport and recreation using items from the International Physical Activity Questionnaire.

Results: The overall ‘‘walkability’’ index had a
positive relationship with both walking for transportation (G2 = 0.020, P = 0.005) and recreation (G2 = 0.013, P = 0.028) in the pooled analyses. The mixed-use access and stranger danger scales were positively related with transport walking (G2 = 0.020, P = 0.006 and G2 =
0.021, P = 0.040, respectively). Proximity of recreational facilities (G2 = 0.016, P = 0.015), road/path connectivity (G2 = 0.025, P = 0.002),path infrastructure (G2 = 0.021, P = 0.005), and overall places for walking and cycling (G2 = 0.012, P = 0.029) scales were positively related to recreational walking. Country-specific results were mostly nonsignificant except for South Africa and Uganda.

Conclusions: Of 14 NEWS-Africa scales, 7 were significantly related to walking behavior in pooled analyses, providing partial support for the construct validity of NEWS-Africa. However, effect sizes appeared to be lower than those from other continents. Further study with larger and more diverse samples is needed to determine whether the instrument performs well in each country.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2015 -)
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Health and Wellbeing (1 Jan 2015 -)
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2017 01:30
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2018 02:29
Uncontrolled Keywords: physical activity, built environment, walking, measure, transportation, recreation
Fields of Research (2008): 12 Built Environment and Design > 1299 Other Built Environment and Design > 129999 Built Environment and Design not elsewhere classified
11 Medical and Health Sciences > 1106 Human Movement and Sports Science > 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Fields of Research (2020): 33 BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN > 3399 Other built environment and design > 339999 Other built environment and design not elsewhere classified
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4207 Sports science and exercise > 420799 Sports science and exercise not elsewhere classified
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): C Society > 92 Health > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920401 Behaviour and Health
D Environment > 96 Environment > 9699 Other Environment > 969999 Environment not elsewhere classified
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