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Evaluation of the neighborhood environment walkability scale in Nigeria

Adewale L Oyeyemi1*, James F Sallis3, Benedicte Deforche24, Adetoyeje Y Oyeyemi1, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij2 and Delfien Van Dyck25

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medical Sciences, University of Maiduguri, Maiduguri, Nigeria

2 Department of Movement and Sports Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

3 Department of Family & Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, USA

4 Department of Biometry and Biomechanics, Faculty of Physical Education and Physiotherapy, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Brussels, Belgium

5 Research Foundation Flanders, Brussels, Belgium

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International Journal of Health Geographics 2013, 12:16  doi:10.1186/1476-072X-12-16

Published: 21 March 2013



The development of reliable and culturally sensitive measures of attributes of the built and social environment is necessary for accurate analysis of environmental correlates of physical activity in low-income countries, that can inform international evidence-based policies and interventions in the worldwide prevention of physical inactivity epidemics. This study systematically adapted the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) for Nigeria and evaluated aspects of reliability and validity of the adapted version among Nigerian adults.


The adaptation of the NEWS was conducted by African and international experts, and final items were selected for NEWS-Nigeria after a cross-validation of the confirmatory factor analysis structure of the original NEWS. Participants (N = 386; female = 47.2%) from two cities in Nigeria completed the adapted NEWS surveys regarding perceived residential density, land use mix – diversity, land use mix – access, street connectivity, infrastructure and safety for walking and cycling, aesthetics, traffic safety, and safety from crime. Self-reported activity for leisure, walking for different purposes, and overall physical activity were assessed with the validated International Physical Activity Questionnaire (long version).


The adapted NEWS subscales had moderate to high test-retest reliability (ICC range 0.59 –0.91). Construct validity was good, with residents of high-walkable neighborhoods reporting significantly higher residential density, more land use mix diversity, higher street connectivity, more traffic safety and more safety from crime, but lower infrastructure and safety for walking/cycling and aesthetics than residents of low-walkable neighborhoods. Concurrent validity correlations were low to moderate (r = 0.10 –0.31) with residential density, land use mix diversity, and traffic safety significantly associated with most physical activity outcomes.


The NEWS-Nigeria demonstrated acceptable measurement properties among Nigerian adults and may be useful for evaluation of the built environment in Nigeria. Further adaptation and evaluation in other African countries is needed to create a version that could be used throughout the African region.

Built environment; Physical activity; Measurements; Psychometric; Africa