Making the playfields even: Evaluating the impact of an environmental intervention on park use and physical activity
ABSTRACT ObjectivesThere is a need for understanding how physical environmental changes impact physical activity (PA) levels within a population. We examined visitation and PA levels in two San Francisco parks in low-income neighborhoods that underwent field renovations, one of which was part of a parks initiative to improve family and youth involvement.MethodsData was collected in two intervention parks and a control park from May 30 to June 5, in 2006 and 2007. The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) was used, which included momentary time sampling on gender, age category, and activity level of park users accessing different sections of the park.ResultsBoth intervention park playfields saw significant increases in male and female visitors, with over a 4-fold increase in the average number of visitors per observation among most age groups. For both genders, there was a significant increase in sedentary, moderately active, and vigorously active visitors to the intervention park playfields.ConclusionsPark playfield renovations, with and without family and youth involvement initiatives, appear to increase visitation and overall PA.
Environmental Justice 12/2012; 5(6):271-278. DOI:10.1089/env.2012.0013
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ABSTRACT: A Play Street is a street that is reserved for children's safe play for a specific period during school vacations. It was hypothesized that a Play Street near children's home can increase their moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) and decrease their sedentary time. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the effect of Play Streets on children's MVPA and sedentary time.A nonequivalent control group pretest-posttest design was used to determine the effects of Play Streets on children's MVPA and sedentary time. Data were collected in Ghent during July and August 2013. The study sample consisted of 126 children (54 from Play streets, 72 from control streets). Children wore an accelerometer for 8 consecutive days and their parents fill out a questionnaire before and after the measurement period. During the intervention, streets were enclosed and reserved for children's play. Four-level (neighborhood - household - child - time of measurement (no intervention or during intervention)) linear regression models were conducted in MLwiN to determine intervention effects.Positive intervention effects were found for sedentary time (β = -0.76 ± 0.39; χ(2) = 3.9; p = 0.05) and MVPA (β = 0.82 ± 0.43; χ(2) = 3.6; p = 0.06). Between 14h00 and 19h00, MVPA from children living in Play Streets increased from 27 minutes during normal conditions to 36 minutes during the Play Street intervention, whereas control children's MVPA decreased from 27 to 24 minutes. Sedentary time from children living in the Play Street decreased from 146 minutes during normal conditions to 138 minutes during the Play Street intervention, whereas control children's sedentary time increased from 156 minutes to 165 minutes. The intervention effects on MVPA (β = -0.62 ± 0.25; χ(2) = 6.3; p = 0.01) and sedentary time (β = 0.85 ± 0.0.33; χ(2) = 6.6; p = 0.01) remained significant when the effects were investigated during the entire day, indicating that children did not compensate for their increased MVPA and decreased sedentary time, during the rest of the day.Creating a safe play space near urban children's home by the Play Street intervention is effective in increasing children's MVPA and decreasing their sedentary time.International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 12/2015; 12(1):171. DOI:10.1186/s12966-015-0171-y · 3.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Evidence is mounting on the association between the built environment and physical activity (PA) with a call for intervention research. A broader approach which recognizes the role of supportive environments that can make healthy choices easier is required. A systematic review was undertaken to assess the effectiveness of interventions to encourage PA in urban green space. Five databases were searched independently by two reviewers using search terms relating to ‘physical activity’, ‘urban green space’ and ‘intervention’ in July 2014. Eligibility criteria included: (i) intervention to encourage PA in urban green space which involved either a physical change to the urban green space or a PA intervention to promote use of urban green space or a combination of both; and (ii) primary outcome of PA. Of the 2405 studies identified, 12 were included. There was some evidence (4/9 studies showed positive effect) to support built environment only interventions for encouraging use and increasing PA in urban green space. There was more promising evidence (3/3 studies showed positive effect) to support PAprograms or PA programs combined with a physical change to the built environment, for increasing urban green space use and PAof users. Recommendations for future research include the need for longer term follow-up post-intervention, adequate control groups, sufficiently powered studies, and consideration of the social environment, which was identified as a significantly under-utilized resource in this area. Interventions that involve the use of PA programs combined with a physical change to the built environment are likely to have a positive effect on PA. Robust evaluations of such interventions are urgently required. The findings provide a platform to inform the design, implementation and evaluation of future urban green space and PA intervention research.Social Science [?] Medicine 01/2015; 124:246-256. DOI:10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.11.051 · 2.56 Impact Factor