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NCCEH Student Project Award 2015 - I Chhay

Role of the built environment on older adults’ physical activity: An evidence review

I Chhay
University of Guelph: Master of Public Health

  • Canada’s population is aging and chronic diseases are expected to rise, meaning an increased burden on our health care system
  • It has been shown that the onset and severity of chronic diseases can be mitigated with physical activity, and physical activity at any age can contribute to healthy aging
  • Physical activity tend to decrease with age, so there is a need to encourage physical activity to promote healthy aging and reduce the impact of chronic diseases
  • The built environment has been shown to affect physical activity levels in older adults
  • Main factors of the built environment that promote physical activity in older adults are high walkability, close proximity to destinations, good access to local parks and recreational facilities, and the presence of comfort features
  • Other important factors include access to public transportation, the presence and condition of sidewalks, traffic-related issues, and aesthetics
  • The results of this evidence review have important implications for public health, policy development, and urban planning in creating age-friendly communities