EnSWIn: Environmental Support for Walking In India (pilot)


India is facing a growing burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as well as risk factor for NCDs, such as inadequate physical activity (PA). The physical and social environments influence the physical activity patterns, and strategies to promote physical activity should include the creation of physical and social environments conducive to physical activity. The physical and social environments have undergone rapid alterations, including unplanned urbanisation, an explosion in motorized transport, reduced green cover, and increased air pollution, all of which may detract from outdoor physical activity, especially walking, among residents of India.


To understand the perceived environmental (physical and social) support for walking in India.


  • determine perceived environmental support for walking;
  • assess self-reported physical activity; and
  • examine the congruence of reported data on physical characteristics of the environment with Geographic Information System (GIS) data.

Research Methodology:

This study includes primary and secondary data collection, and uses surveys, photographs, and in-depth exploration of the perspectives of a subset of selected respondents. The findings will shed light on the association between built environment and physical activity in a wide range of adults living in different zones of the 2 study sites. The study will also document case studies of representative as well as unusual respondents in this study, to develop a deep and nuanced understanding of the available built environment support for regular physical activity, particularly walking (a basic activity that does not necessitate special equipment or training, and is highly responsive to the physical environment) in our study sites. Survey instruments that assess perceptions of the physical and social characteristics of the neighbourhood have been adapted for the populations in this study.

Current Status:

Survey data collection completed and data has been checked for completeness. Case study data collection has been initiated.

Potential Impact:

This study could pave the way to better understanding of, and action on, environmental support for health, particularly for disadvantaged populations who rely on government (and NGO) provision.