Community trail development is an emerging strategy to increase physical activity (PA) among community residents. The purpose of this study was to assess awareness and use of trails and compare perceptions to objective data.
A telephone survey was administered to a stratified sample of adults (N = 1,112) in a southeastern county in the United States. Respondents' home addresses and the locations of trails were entered into a GIS database. A kappa statistic was used to measure agreement between awareness and presence of trails. Differences in reported trail use patterns by sex, race, education, and PA levels were evaluated.
There was no agreement between the awareness and presence of trails (kappa = 0.07). Fifty-six percent of the respondents reported having trails; however, only 33% reported using the trails. Of the trail users, 42% reported being regularly active in moderate-to-vigorous PA (30+ min/day for 5+ days/week), and 51% reported being less active (P < 0.003). Among walkers (> or =30 min/day for > or =5 days/week), 49% of regular walkers and 35% of irregular walkers (< walkers) reported using the trails (P < 0.04).
Awareness of existing trails in this community and levels of use were low. Marketing programs should promote awareness and use of trails among older adults and irregularly active adults.
"This was the case for a composite measure of walkability, and for the sub-domains of dwelling density, street connectivity, land use mix, and retail density (Gebel et al., 2009). It has been suggested that strategies to improve perceptions of the relevant environmental attributes particularly among those who live in objectively determined high walkable neighborhoods may have the potential to increase physical activity levels (Reed et al., 2004; Gebel et al., 2009) and improve other health outcomes (Parra et al., 2010). No study has examined whether mismatch between perceived and objectively determined walkability influences change in walking and weight. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined prospectively whether persons who perceive their objectively measured high walkable environment as low walkable decrease their walking more and gain more weight than those with matched perceptions. Walkability was measured objectively using GIS. Corresponding perceptions were collected using the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale from 1027 urban Australian adults. Objective and perceived measures were dichotomized and categories of match and mismatch were created. Overall, walking levels decreased and BMI increased significantly over the four year follow-up period. Those who perceived high walkability, dwelling density or land use mix as low decreased their walking for transport significantly more than those with matched perceptions. Those who perceived high walkability, land use mix or retail density as low increased their BMI significantly more than those with concordant perceptions. These prospective findings corroborate recommendations from previous cross-sectional studies. Interventions to improve negative perceptions of walkability among those living in high walkable areas may be a relevant public health intervention to increase physical activity and support weight maintenance.
Health & Place 12/2010; 17(2):519-24. DOI:10.1016/j.healthplace.2010.12.008 · 2.81 Impact Factor
"The literature also suggests that trails can have positive impacts on public health. According to Frank et al. (2006), Moudon et al. (2005), Pearce et al. (2006), Reed et al. (2004) and Wang et al. (2005), a major component of recreational trails is their ability to provide opportunities for increased physical activity. Frank et al. (2006) show that those who live in ''walkable " neighborhoods walk 30 min more a week for travel purposes and engage in more total physical activity. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the literature on trail development suggests, recreational trail projects can generate conflicts and controversies, particularly when built on abandoned rail corridors through developed areas. These conflicts are often understood as “not in my back yard” (NIMBY) reactions, suggesting a spatial proximity to conflict which increases as one draws closer to the proposed trail. This research seeks to understand local residents’ perceptions and reactions to recreational trail development in the City of Delaware (Ohio, USA). It addresses two spatially infused questions: Does the potential for conflict related to trail development increase as people live closer to a potential trail (the NIMBY factor)? Can important qualitative factors about favorable and unfavorable land uses including potential recreational trail sites be defined using a participatory methodology and then represented in GIS? The study used a mixed-method approach to collect and analyze qualitative data from a group of local residents. Each participant was interviewed and asked to sort 19 pictures related to trail development. After each of the sorts, participants were asked to explain why they ranked the pictures the way they did. Results of the picture sorts were then analyzed using Q method and mapped with GIS. The results show that spatial proximity matters in the context of trail development and potential NIMBY reactions to trails. Significant differences were found in the picture sorts that reveal the importance of proximity and location, although in a manner contrary to the assumptions in the writings on rails-to-trails. Through combining qualitative methods, Q analysis and PPGIS analysis, the research shows that qualitative place-based studies are capable of generating insights about the complexities of situated geographic change such as recreational trail development.
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