Walkability around primary schools and area deprivation across Scotland

Macdonald, L. , Mccrorie, P. , Nicholls, N. and Ellaway, A. (2016) Walkability around primary schools and area deprivation across Scotland. BMC Public Health, 16, 328. (doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-2994-0) (PMID:27080230) (PMCID:PMC4832497)

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Background: A number of studies based in the US, Canada, and Australia, have found evidence of associations between the built environment (BE) and mode of transport to school, and links between active travel and deprivation. Limited research in the UK compares potential BE supports for walking to school by area deprivation. Within this study, we gathered data on BE attributes previously linked to active travel, i.e., street/path connectivity, and dwelling density, created a composite ‘walkability score’ (WS) for areas around primary schools across urban Scotland, and explored whether poorer areas exhibit lower scores than more affluent areas, or vice versa. We consider this to be a novel approach as few studies have compared BE features by deprivation across a whole country. Methods: Address and road/path maps were obtained and primary schools (N = 937) across mainland Scotland were mapped. Schools were attributed income deprivation scores (scores divided into quintiles (Q1: least deprived, Q5: most deprived)). Catchment area (CA) boundaries, i.e., the geographic area representing eligibility for local school attendance, were drawn around schools, and WS calculated for each CA. We compared mean WS by income quintile (ANOVA), for all local authorities (LAs) combined (N = 29), and separately for the four LAs with the greatest number of schools included in the analysis. Results: For all LAs combined, the least deprived quintile (Q1) showed a significantly lower WS (−0.61), than quintiles 3, 4 and 5 (Q2: −0.04 (non-sig), Q3: 0.38, Q4: 0.09, Q5: 0.18); while for Glasgow the second least deprived quintile (Q2) showed significantly higher WS (Q1: 1.35, Q2: 1.73), than middling (Q3: 0.18) and most deprived quintiles (Q4: 0.06, Q5: −0.10). Conclusion: WS differ by deprivation with patterns varying depending on the spatial scale of the analysis. It is essential that less walkable areas are provided with the resources to improve opportunities to engage in active travel.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Ellaway, Dr Anne and Nicholls, Dr Natalie and Mccrorie, Dr Paul and MacDonald, Mrs Laura
Authors: Macdonald, L., Mccrorie, P., Nicholls, N., and Ellaway, A.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Health & Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
Journal Name:BMC Public Health
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN (Online):1471-2458
Published Online:14 April 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 Macdonald et al.
First Published:First published in BMC Public Health 16:328
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656631Neighbourhoods and HealthAnne EllawayMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/8IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU