The neighborhood built environment and cognitive function of older persons: results from the singapore longitudinal ageing study Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND:We investigated the association of subjective (perceived) and objective (geographical information system [GIS]-based) measures of the neighborhood built environment (BE) attributes with cognitive function among older persons, and the mediating effect of transportation physical activity (TPA) and leisure time (physical, social and productive) activities (LTA). METHOD:A cross-sectional study of 402 residents aged 55 years and above in the Singapore Longitudinal Ageing Study. Perceived neighborhood BE attributes (residential density, street connectivity, land use mix - diversity, land use mix - access, infrastructure for walking or cycling, aesthetics, traffic safety, and crime safety) and objective GIS measures of walkability and accessibility were related to participants' cognitive global and domain-specific performance measured by Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neurocognitive Status (RBANS). RESULTS:Controlling for age, sex, education, race, chronic medical illnesses, self-rated health, Geriatric Depression Scale depression score, POMA measures of balance and gait, and other BE attributes, the subjective measure of land use mix-diversity (standardized coefficient β = 0.161, p = 0.008) and GIS measure of walkability (β = 0.163, p = 0.002) were positively and significantly associated with RBANS global z-score, and immediate and delayed memory recall, visuospatial/ constructional ability and language, except attention. In hierarchical modeling, TPA and LTA attenuated the effect estimates, but the associations remained significant. CONCLUSION:BE features which increase opportunities and easy access to a diversity of destinations for services and facilities that promote physical, social and cognitively stimulating activities is associated with better cognitive functioning in older people.


  • Ng, TP
  • Nyunt, MSZ
  • Shuvo, FK
  • Eng, JY
  • Yap, KB
  • Hee, LM
  • Chan, Siew Pang
  • Scherer, S

publication date

  • 2018