Neighborhood environmental factors and physical activity status among rural older adults in Japan

Kenta Okuyama, Takafumi Abe, Xinjun Li, Yuta Toyama, Kristina Sundquist, Toru Nabika

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


(1) Background: Although several neighborhood environmental factors have been identified to be associated with older adults’ physical activity, little research has been done in rural areas where the population is aging. This study aimed to investigate neighborhood environmental factors and the longitudinal change of physical activity status among rural older adults in Japan. (2) Meth-ods: The study included 2211 older adults, aged over 60 years, residing in three municipalities in Shimane prefecture and participating at least twice in annual health checkups between 2010 and 2019. Physical activity was identified based on self-report. Hilliness, bus stop density, intersection density, residential density, and distance to a community center were calculated for each subject. Hazard ratios for the incidence of physical inactivity were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models. (3) Results: We found that 994 (45%) of the study subjects became physically inactive during the follow-up. Those living far from a community center had a lower risk of becoming physically inactive compared to those living close to a community center. When the analysis was stratified by residential municipality, this association remained in Ohnan town. Those living in hilly areas had a higher risk of becoming physically inactive in Okinoshima town. (4) Conclusions: The impact of neighborhood environmental factors on older adults’ physical activity status might differ by region possibly due to different terrain and local lifestyles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1450
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Feb 2021


  • Community center
  • Hilliness
  • Neighborhood environment
  • Older adults
  • Physical activity


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