Several studies have reported a mismatch between objectively measured characteristics of the obesogenic environment and perceptions of individuals of these characteristics. A recent study found a decline in walking and an increase in BMI in individuals living in high-walkable neighbourhoods, who perceived the walkability of these neighbourhoods as low, and recommends interventions aimed at improving this mismatch. We express our concern about the emphasis given to interventions based on misperceptions of the environment. It is argued that still little is understood about the underlying reasons for misperceptions, that bias needs to be ruled out, and that interventions aimed at improving mismatched perceptions may only be of little additional value.

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Keywords Interventions, Measurement, Physical environments, Walking
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Journal Health & Place
van Lenthe, F.J, & Kamphuis, C.B.M. (2011). Mismatched perceptions of neighbourhood walkability: Need for interventions?. Health & Place, 17(6), 1294–1295. doi:10.1016/j.healthplace.2011.07.001