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Go to: Abstract Physical inactivity is estimated to be the fourth leading cause of global mortality. Strategies to increase physical activity PA increasingly emphasize environmental and policy changes including the modification of neighborhood environments to promote walking and other forms of healthy activity. Open Streets OS initiatives, an important and growing strategy to modify neighborhood environments for PA, create temporary parks for recreational activity by closing streets to motor vehicle traffic, thereby offering health and community building benefits. A total of 18 themes were reported by participants with areas of overlapping themes e. OS initiatives offer a global strategy for increasing neighborhood opportunities for PA and a potential site for training citizen scientists to document environmental influences on PA.

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Table 1 Characteristics of Open Streets by site Location. A recent study by Bock found that dual-task costs for older adults during walking tend to arise when tasks are visually demanding.

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Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia. Strategies to increase physical activity PA increasingly emphasize environmental and policy changes including the modification of neighborhood environments to promote walking and other forms of healthy stfeets. In our simulated street crossing task older adults showed impairment in the more difficult 75m IVD condition, but dual-task impairments were largely absent for younger adults in that condition.

Another factor that likely contributed to the difficulty that older adults had in successfully crossing the street while conversing on a cell phone in our task was age-related decline in attentional control processes.

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Initiation Head Turns and Crossing Head Turns Crossing difficulty and dual-task load played a role in how successful older adults were at crossing the street safely in our talkihg. What were the mechanisms underlying these effects? Similarly, research by Li and colleagues has shown that when under dual-task load older adults tend to prioritize the task domain for which the most negative consequences are expected to occur should that domain be neglected Li et al.

TTC values are shown in Table 2. The current study extends this work to the domain of pedestrian distraction.

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The purposes of this project were as follows: 1 to assess adult residents' perceptions of neighborhood characteristics of the OS initiative in three socioeconomically diverse sites and 2 to test the DT for use in three international urban settings with OS initiatives; Bogota, Colombia; San Francisco, USA; and Temuco, Chile, among a multigenerational, multiethnic sample of adults including, for the first time, a vulnerable population of homeless adults Bogota.

However, disadvantaged populations are more likely to live in neighborhoods with fewer environmental supports, and which have lower perceived safety, leading to reduced PA [ 910 ]. Along these lines, work by Neider and colleagues Neider et al. Evidence that attentional control diminishes with age has come largely from experiments using the task switching paradigm e.

We chose to use the DT at OS because of the opportunity for pre-post evaluation and to test the feasibility of training local citizen-scientists as observers and reporters of OS activities. It is certainly conceivable that in the real world, listening to music on a portable listening device might affect the ability of a pedestrian to extract auditory cues that might aid in the crossing process. To examine this possibility, we analyzed the average of head turns made by each participant when standing on the sidewalk adjacent to the road, the time when participants were presumably gathering information in preparation to cross, along with the average of head turns made by each participant while actually crossing the road.

This finding would seemingly be supportive of the impaired visual encoding hypothesis, however, additional research will be required to further investigate this possibility.

When conversing on a cell phone older adults required more time to initiate their crossing than younger adults, particularly under difficult crossing conditions. 3. Universidad de la Open Streets (OS) initiatives, an important and growing strategy to modify.

Open Streets OS initiatives, an important and growing strategy to modify neighborhood environments for PA, create temporary parks for recreational activity by closing streets to motor vehicle traffic, thereby offering health and community building benefits. Living in more walkable neighborhoods has been associated with lower body mass index among older adults [ 7 ], while living in close proximity to parks has been associated with increased PA among adults and children [ 8 ].

1 author. Although age-related declines in attentional control processes likely played some role in our findings, given the initiation time differences we observed between the older and younger adults, other processing impairments might have also played a role in producing the dual-task costs displayed by older adults in the street crossing task.

A Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, whereas an index of represents perfect inequality [ 26 ]. The themes of "Festive Environment" and "Family Friendly Environment" reflect the quality of the overall environment for participants.

In contrast, younger adults were slower to traverse the road when conversing on a cell phone than when undistracted or listening to music. Presumably, initiation time reflects some preparatory cognitive processing, with participants analyzing the traffic pattern for safe crossing opportunities.

Walking & talking: dual-task effects on street crossing behavior in older adults

Outside the lab, auditory cues may provide information about the level of traffic density generally and about the distance, direction of movement, and speed of individual vehicles strerts specifically. OS initiatives, which create temporary parks for recreational activity by closing streets to motor vehicle traffic, currently occur in more than locations worldwide [ 11 — 13 ].

These effects imply that although postural control and movement are compromised with age and distraction e. TTC values were similar for older adults in difficult conditions regardless of task load and distraction type, suggesting minimal differences in crossing criteria across distraction conditions. A total of 18 themes were reported by participants with areas of overlapping themes e.

Walking & talking: dual-task effects on street crossing behavior in older adults

The cell phone related impairments observed by Neider and colleagues Neider et al. 2.

While younger and older adults are both susceptible to impairment when conversing on a cell phone and attempting a street crossing, older adults become susceptible under much less challenging conditions than younger adults. We extend those findings to older adults, but with an important caveat. Open Streets OS initiatives, a worldwide phenomenon begun in the s, are an important and growing strategy to modify neighborhood environments for PA.

If older adults were in fact exercising increased caution when crossing while using a cell phone, the result should have been an increase in the TTC during those crossings, indicating safer behavior.

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Such encoding interference might be reflected tzlking a slower accumulation of visual information in a manner consistent with the pattern of increased initiation times observed in the older adult group in more challenging crossing conditions. Head movements might provide some indication of how information was sampled in our task.

Based on the current data older adults would likely suffer even larger costs under similar conditions. Such behavior has indeed been observed in studies examining cell phone usage during driving. Strategies to promote physical activity PA strreets emphasize environmental and policy changes [ 3 — 5 ].