Walking to the shops: desired but how doable?
Mudge, S; Monachino, G
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The average community walking distance is often cited to be 300 metres and increases if more than one task is performed. On average, disabled older adults complete one task per trip whereas healthy older adults undertake two tasks per trip. There is no published data for community distances in New Zealand. The purpose of this study was to describe community walking distances in the greater Auckland region. Thirty supermarkets were randomly selected. Standardised distances for single-task (supermarket) and two-task (supermarket and pharmacy) were measured using an odometer. Descriptive statistics were used to calculate mean, standard deviation and range of the single-task and two-task distances. Paired t-tests were used to test the difference in distance means. The level of association between each of the distances and number of people living in the suburb was calculated using Pearson’s correlation coefficient. Mean distances were 393 (SD 113) metres and 871 (SD 276) metres for single-task and two-task distances respectively, which were significantly different (p=0.000). No to low correlation was found between the number of people living in the suburb and the single-task (r=0.186) and two-task (r=0.340) trip distances respectively. The minimum walking distances in New Zealand are greater than previously reported. Assessment and training of instances of 400-1000 metres is recommended for individuals who wish to walk in community locations.