Original paper| Volume 13, ISSUE 4, P417-423, July 2010

Factors affecting walking activity of older people from culturally diverse groups: An Australian experience

Published:October 15, 2009DOI:


      This study sought to investigate the walking habits of older people from diverse cultural backgrounds, and to identify the factors associated with their walking. Three hundred and thirty three people over the age of 60 years were recruited from seven culturally diverse groups from the Western suburbs of Melbourne, Australia. A survey questionnaire recording physical activity, and various factors related to activity, was interviewer-administered in the participants’ preferred language. Data were analysed using Kruskal–Wallis, χ2 and Mann–Whitney tests. Forty-seven percent of the participants walked at least 150 min per week, with no significant difference in prevalence between genders or cultural groups. Some cultural differences were found in relation to reasons and locations for walking, and women were more likely than men to report walking in the shopping mall, whilst men were more likely than women to report walking in the park and along walking trails. Those who attained >150 min of walking were more likely to report health and fitness as reasons for walking, to perceive their walking environment as more pleasurable, to use walking trails, and to consider their environment safe and to facilitate social interaction. This study indicates that the continued advocating of walking as a health promoting activity should be central to future campaigns to increase physical activity in this age group. The provision of locations that are accessible, safe, aesthetically pleasing, and encourage social engagement are likely to facilitate older people's participation in walking. For maximum effectiveness, however, strategies may benefit from being tailored to meet specific gender and cultural preferences.


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