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Vogt, Susanne; Mielck, Andreas; Berger, Ursula; Grill, Eva; Peters, Annette; Döring, Angela; Holle, Rolf; Strobl, Ralf; Zimmermann, Anja-Kerstin; Linkohr, Birgit; Wolf, Kathrin; Kneißl, Klaus and Maier, Werner (14. May 2015): Neighborhood and healthy aging in a German city: distancesto green space and senior service centers and their associationswith physical constitution, disability, and health-related qualityof life. In: European Journal of Ageing, Vol. 12: pp. 273-283

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The composition of the residential environment may have an independent influence on health, especially in older adults. In this cross-sectional study, we examined the associations between proximity to two features of the residential environment (green space and senior service centers) and three aspects of healthy aging (self-rated physical constitution, disability, and health-related quality of life). We included 1711 inhabitants from the city of Augsburg, Germany, aged 65 years or older, who participated in the KORA-Age study conducted in 2008/2009. We calculated the Euclidian distances between each participant's residential address and the nearest green space or senior service center, using a geographic information system. Multilevel logistic regression models were fitted to analyze the associations, controlling for demographic and socioeconomic factors. Contrary to expectations, we did not find clear associations between the distances to the nearest green space or senior service center and any of the examined aspects of healthy aging. The importance of living close to green space may largely depend on the study location. The city of Augsburg is relatively small (about 267,000 inhabitants) and has a high proportion of greenness. Thus, proximity to green space may not be as important as in a densely populated metropolitan area. Moreover, an objectively defined measure of access such as Euclidian distance may not reflect the actual use. Future studies should try to assess the importance of resources of the residential environment not only objectively, but also from the resident's perspective.

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