Mall Walking Program Environments, Features, and Participants: A Scoping Review
Published Date:Aug 13 2015
Source:Prev Chronic Dis. 12.
Pubmed Central ID:PMC4552141
Walking is a preferred and recommended physical activity for middle-aged and older adults, but many barriers exist, including concerns about safety (ie, personal security), falling, and inclement weather. Mall walking programs may overcome these barriers. The purpose of this study was to summarize the evidence on the health-related value of mall walking and mall walking programs.
We conducted a scoping review of the literature to determine the features, environments, and benefits of mall walking programs using the RE-AIM framework (reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance). The inclusion criteria were articles that involved adults aged 45 years or older who walked in indoor or outdoor shopping malls. Exclusion criteria were articles that used malls as laboratory settings or focused on the mechanics of walking. We included published research studies, dissertations, theses, conference abstracts, syntheses, nonresearch articles, theoretical papers, editorials, reports, policy briefs, standards and guidelines, and nonresearch conference abstracts and proposals. Websites and articles written in a language other than English were excluded.
We located 254 articles on mall walking; 32 articles met our inclusion criteria. We found that malls provided safe, accessible, and affordable exercise environments for middle-aged and older adults. Programmatic features such as program leaders, blood pressure checks, and warm-up exercises facilitated participation. Individual benefits of mall walking programs included improvements in physical, social, and emotional well-being. Limited transportation to the mall was a barrier to participation.
We found the potential for mall walking programs to be implemented in various communities as a health promotion measure. However, the research on mall walking programs is limited and has weak study designs. More rigorous research is needed to define best practices for mall walking programs’ reach, effectiveness, adoption, implementation, and maintenance.
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