Making the playfields even: Evaluating the impact of an environmental intervention on park use and physical activity

ArticleinPreventive Medicine 48(4):316-320 · April 2009with29 Reads
Impact Factor: 3.09 · DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.01.010

    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.