NEWPATH is an innovative, transdisciplinary research program focused on evaluating how different urban built environments impact a variety of quality of life factors, including; physical activity, diet, access to food, air pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. The project’s study area is the Region of Waterloo, a regional municipality located in south-central Ontario.

NEWPATH uses state of the art tools for collecting, measuring, and assessing travel, urban form and physical activity of 532 adults in the Region of Waterloo. This will be accomplished by incorporating off-street pedestrian data along with physical activity and diet measures. The project will help to establish a national model to integrate dietary, transportation, physical activity, built environment, and body weight data in planning and decision-making contexts.

NEWPATH will produce cutting edge findings that will assist local policy and decision makers understand which land use and transportation policies may have the greatest potential for increasing active transportation, reducing obesity and sedentary lifestyles, better access to local and healthier food, and reducing travel emissions, all while maintaining a vibrant economic vitality and strong sense of community in the Region of Waterloo.

  • Walkability is a significant predictor of moderate to vigorous physical activity (positive association), and BMI (negative association).

  • Neither the RFEI or NEMS food environment measures significantly predict the HEI or BMI.

  • Age was negatively associated with MVPA and positively associated with HEI; being female was associated with higher HEIs.

  • Alternative exploratory models found HEI was a significant predictor of waist circumference, and that walkability significantly predicted both MVPA and BMI in all models except the males-only model.



waterloo walkability

Research Partners

  • University of British Columbia
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Waterloo

Funding & Sponsors

  • Heart & Stroke Foundation
  • Region of Waterloo