Contribution of Public Parks to Physical Activity

RAND Corporation, Santa Monica, CA 90407, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 04/2007; 97(3):509-14. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.072447
Source: PubMed


Parks provide places for people to experience nature, engage in physical activity, and relax. We studied how residents in low-income, minority communities use public, urban neighborhood parks and how parks contribute to physical activity.
In 8 public parks, we used direct observation to document the number, gender, race/ethnicity, age group, and activity level of park users 4 times per day, 7 days per week. We also interviewed 713 park users and 605 area residents living within 2 miles of each park.
On average, over 2000 individuals were counted in each park, and about two thirds were sedentary when observed. More males than females used the parks, and males were twice as likely to be vigorously active. Interviewees identified the park as the most common place they exercised. Both park use and exercise levels of individuals were predicted by proximity of their residence to the park.
Public parks are critical resources for physical activity in minority communities. Because residential proximity is strongly associated with physical activity and park use, the number and location of parks are currently insufficient to serve local populations well.

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Available from: Thomas L Mckenzie
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    • "However, it was also mentioned by the interviewees that they particularly liked these sites because they offered something different than existing activity sites, potentially indicating additional activity. Many of the interviewed users reported to have traveled 10–20 min by bicycle (traveling at 15 km/h this amounts to 2.5–5 km) to the site, which is a bit surprising as many studies indicate that most users of UGS live close by (Cohen et al., 2007; Kaczynski et al., 2008; Schipperijn et al., 2013). However, a study by Schipperijn et al. (2010b) showed that many users are willing to pass their nearest UGS to visit a preferred UGS. "
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    • "Biglan, Ary, & Wagenaar, 2000). Specifically, the System of Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) tool, developed by Cohen and McKenzie (Cohen et al., 2007), was used to document the number of people observed using the park between June–October 2010 and then again between June–October 2012. Observers rated the number of people, their gender and approximate ages, and the intensity level of the activity being performed by each individual counted. "
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