Sharing good NEWS across the world: Developing comparable scores across 12 countries for the neighborhood environment walkability scale (NEWS)

Cerin, Ester, Conway, Terry L., Cain, Kelli L., Kerr, Jacqueline, De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse, Owen, Neville, Reis, Rodrigo S., Sarmiento O.L., Hinckson, Erica A., Salvo, Deborah, Christiansen, Lars B., MacFarlane, Duncan J., Davey, Rachel, Mitas, Josef, Aguinaga-Ontoso, Ines and Sallis, James F. (2013) Sharing good NEWS across the world: Developing comparable scores across 12 countries for the neighborhood environment walkability scale (NEWS). BMC Public Health, 13 . doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-309

Author Cerin, Ester
Conway, Terry L.
Cain, Kelli L.
Kerr, Jacqueline
De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse
Owen, Neville
Reis, Rodrigo S.
Sarmiento O.L.
Hinckson, Erica A.
Salvo, Deborah
Christiansen, Lars B.
MacFarlane, Duncan J.
Davey, Rachel
Mitas, Josef
Aguinaga-Ontoso, Ines
Sallis, James F.
Title Sharing good NEWS across the world: Developing comparable scores across 12 countries for the neighborhood environment walkability scale (NEWS)
Journal name BMC Public Health   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1471-2458
Publication date 2013-04-01
Year available 2013
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1186/1471-2458-13-309
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 13
Total pages 14
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed
Language eng
Formatted abstract
The IPEN (International Physical Activity and Environment Network) Adult project seeks to conduct pooled analyses of associations of perceived neighborhood environment, as measured by the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) and its abbreviated version (NEWS-A), with physical activity using data from 12 countries. As IPEN countries used adapted versions of the NEWS/NEWS-A, this paper aimed to develop scoring protocols that maximize cross-country comparability in responses. This information is also highly relevant to non-IPEN studies employing the NEWS/NEWS-A, which is one of the most popular measures of perceived environment globally.

The following countries participated in the IPEN Adult study: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Participants (N = 14,305) were recruited from neighborhoods varying in walkability and socio-economic status. Countries collected data on the perceived environment using a self- or interviewer-administered version of the NEWS/NEWS-A. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was used to derive comparable country-specific measurement models of the NEWS/NEWS-A. The level of correspondence between standard and alternative versions of the NEWS/NEWS-A factor-analyzable subscales was determined by estimating the correlations and mean standardized difference (Cohen's d) between them using data from countries that had included items from both standard and alternative versions of the subscales.

Final country-specific measurement models of the NEWS/NEWS-A provided acceptable levels of fit to the data and shared the same factorial structure with six latent factors and two single items. The correspondence between the standard and alternative versions of subscales of Land use mix - access, Infrastructure and safety for walking/cycling, and Aesthetics was high. The Brazilian version of the Traffic safety subscale was highly, while the Australian and Belgian versions were marginally, comparable to the standard version. Single-item versions of the Street connectivity subscale used in Australia and Belgium showed marginally acceptable correspondence to the standard version.

We have proposed country-specific modifications to the original scoring protocol of the NEWS/NEWS-A that enhance inter-country comparability. These modifications have yielded sufficiently equivalent measurement models of the NEWS/NEWS-A. Some inter-country discrepancies remain. These need to be considered when interpreting findings from different countries.
Keyword Built environment
Confirmatory factor analysis
Pooled analyses
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article number 309.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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