Walkable neighbourhoods & inequalities: A case study

People living in disadvantaged areas have poorer physical function, according to a new study on neighbourhood inequalities.

In a recent publication, Disability and Health researcher Dr Jerome Rachele and his co-authors examined the moderating effects of walkability in the relationship between neighbourhood disadvantage and physical function. The study used 2013 cross-sectional data from 5115 individuals aged 46–72 living in 200 neighbourhoods in Brisbane, Australia.

The relationship between neighbourhood disadvantage and physical function differed by levels of walkability: positive associations as levels of walkability increased for those living in more disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and no difference for those living in more advantaged neighbourhoods. Further work is required to better understand the underlying mechanisms.


  • Greater neighbourhood disadvantage was associated with poorer physical function
  • However, the magnitude of this association reduced as walkability increased
  • Walkability has the potential to narrow neighbourhood inequalities in physical function

    Loh V, Rachele J, Brown W, Ghani F, Washington S & Turrel G. The potential for walkability to narrow neighbourhood socioeconomic inequalities in physical function: A case study of middle-aged to older adults in Brisbane, Australia. Health and Place 2019 March 56: 99-105.
    View the full text article here

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Dr Jerome Rachele