Environmental Supports for Physical Activity, National Health Interview Survey–2015

Geoffrey P. Whitfield, Susan A. Carlson, Emily N. Ussery, Kathleen B. Watson, Marc Adams, Peter James, Ross C. Brownson, David Berrigan, Janet E. Fulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Introduction The Guide to Community Preventive Services recommends combined built environment approaches to increase physical activity, including new or enhanced transportation infrastructure (e.g., sidewalks) and land use and environmental design interventions (e.g., close proximity of local destinations). The aim of this brief report is to provide nationally representative estimates of two types of built environment supports for physical activity: near-home walkable infrastructure and destinations, from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey. Methods Adults (n=30,453) reported the near-home presence of walkable transportation infrastructure (roads, sidewalks, paths, or trails where you can walk; and whether most streets have sidewalks) and four walkable destination types (shops, stores, or markets; bus or transit stops; movies, libraries, or churches; and places that help you relax, clear your mind, and reduce stress). The prevalence of each, and the count of destination types, was calculated (in 2017) and stratified by demographic characteristics. Results Overall, 85.1% reported roads, sidewalks, paths, or trails on which to walk, and 62.6% reported sidewalks on most streets. Among destinations, 71.8% reported walkable places to relax; followed by shops (58.0%); transit stops (53.2%); and movies, libraries, or churches (47.5%). For most design elements, prevalence was similar among adults aged 18–24 and 25–34 years, but decreased with age >35 years. Adults in the South reported a lower prevalence of all elements compared with those in other Census regions. Conclusions Many U.S. adults report walkable built environment elements near their home; future efforts might target areas with many older adult residents or those living in the South.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)294-298
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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