78 research outputs found

    Correspondence of perceived vs. objective proximity to parks and their relationship to park-based physical activity

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Parks are key environmental resources for encouraging population-level physical activity (PA). In measuring availability of parks, studies have employed both self-reported and objective indicators of proximity, with little correspondence observed between these two types of measures. However, little research has examined how the degree of correspondence between self-reported and objectively-measured distance to parks is influenced by individual, neighborhood, and park-related variables, or which type of measure is more strongly related to physical activity outcomes.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>We used data from 574 respondents who reported the distance to their closest park and compared this with objective measurements of proximity to the closest park. Both indicators were dichotomized as having or not having a park within 750 m. Audits of all park features within this distance were also conducted and other personal characteristics and neighborhood context variables (safety, connectedness, aesthetics) were gleaned from participants' survey responses. Participants also completed detailed seven-day PA log booklets from which measures of neighborhood-based and park-based PA were derived.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Agreement was poor in that only 18% of respondents achieved a match between perceived and objective proximity to the closest park (kappa = 0.01). Agreement was higher among certain subgroups, especially those who reported engaging in at least some park-based PA. As well, respondents with a greater number of parks nearby, whose closest park had more features, and whose closest park contained a playground or wooded area were more likely to achieve a match. Having a ball diamond or soccer field in the closest park was negatively related to achieving a match between perceived and objective proximity. Finally, engaging in at least some park-based PA was not related to either perceived or objective proximity to a park, but was more likely when a match between and perceived and objective proximity occurred.</p> <p>Conclusion</p> <p>Poor levels of correspondence were observed between self-reported and objective proximity to parks, but certain individual, neighborhood, and park variables increased the likelihood of a participant being aware of local parks. Future research should examine how people conceptualize parks and what urban and park planners can do to increase awareness and use of these community assets.</p

    Deconstructing Williamsburg: Using focus groups to examine residents' perceptions of the building of a walkable community

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    <p>Abstract</p> <p>Background</p> <p>Components of the built environment are associated with active living behaviors, but research in this area has employed surveys and other quantitative methods almost exclusively. Qualitative approaches can provide additional detail about how neighborhoods influence physical activity, including informing the extent to which such relationships are causal in nature. The purpose of this study was to gain an in-depth understanding of residents' attitudinal and behavioral responses to living in a neighborhood designed to be walkable.</p> <p>Methods</p> <p>Focus groups were conducted with residents of a planned retail and residential development that was designed to embody many attributes of walkability and was located within a large city in southwestern Ontario. In total, 31 participants provided qualitative data about neighborhood resources and dynamics, use of local services, physical activity behavior, and other related issues. The data were transcribed and coded for themes relevant to the study purpose.</p> <p>Results</p> <p>Salient themes that emerged emphasized the importance of land use diversity, safety, parks and trails, aesthetics, and a sense of community, with the latter theme cutting across all others. The data also revealed mechanisms that explain relationships between the built environment and behavior and how sidewalks in the neighborhood facilitated diverse health behaviors and outcomes. Finally, residents recited several examples of changes in behavior, both positive and negative, since moving to their current neighborhood.</p> <p>Conclusions</p> <p>The results of this study confirmed and expanded upon current knowledge about built and social environment influences on physical activity and health. That many residents reported changes in their behaviors since moving to the neighborhood permitted tentative inferences about the causal impact of built and social environments. Future research should exploit diverse methods to more fully understand how neighborhood contexts influence active living.</p

    Associations among neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation, physical activity facilities, and physical activity in youth during the transition from childhood to adolescence

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    BACKGROUND: This study aims to examine the longitudinal association of neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation (SED) with physical activity in youth during the transition from elementary to middle school, and to determine if access to physical activity facilities moderates this relationship. METHODS: Data were obtained from the Transitions and Activity Changes in Kids (TRACK) study, which was a multilevel, longitudinal study designed to identify the factors that influence changes in physical activity as youth transition from elementary to middle school. The analytic sample for the current study included 660 youth with complete data in grades 5 (baseline) and 7 (follow-up). A repeated measures multilevel framework was employed to examine the relationship between SED and physical activity over time and the potential moderating role of elements of the built environment. RESULTS: Decreases in physical activity varied by the degree of neighborhood SED with youth residing in the most deprived neighborhoods experiencing the greatest declines in physical activity. Access to supportive physical activity facilities did not moderate this relationship. CONCLUSION: Future research studies are needed to better understand how neighborhood SED influences youth physical activity over time

    A multi-dimensional scale for repositioning public park and recreation services

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    The goal of this study was to develop an instrument to assist public park and recreation agencies in successfully repositioning their offerings in order to garner increased allocations of tax dollars. To achieve this, an agency must be perceived as providing public benefits, those that accrue to all members of its constituency. The scale sought to identify the importance of various community issues and perceptions of the agency's performance in contributing to those issues. A valid and reliable 36-item instrument was developed that encompasses nine distinct dimensions: Preventing Youth Crime, Environmental Stewardship, Enhancing Real Estate Values, Attracting and Retaining Businesses, Attracting and Retaining Retirees, Improving Community Health, Stimulating Urban Rejuvenation, Attracting Tourists, and Addressing the Needs of People who are Underemployed. These dimensions represent community issues that a park and recreation agency can contribute towards, and can therefore use as a basis for its repositioning efforts. Using a screening process by expert judges, a pretest sample of undergraduate students, and a sample of municipal residents, each of the importance and performance dimensions in the scale was judged to possess content validity, internal consistency, construct validity, and split-half reliability. A shortened version of the instrument was also demonstrated to possess internal consistency and construct validity. In a practical application, the scale proved useful in identifying repositioning options for the park and recreation department, both in isolation and relative to a public agency'competitor'. Limitations of the study and suggestions for future research are offered

    The Associations Between Park Environments and Park Use in Southern US Communities

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    Purpose To document park use and park and neighborhood environment characteristics in rural communities, and to examine the relationship between park characteristics and park use. Methods The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities measured use in 42 target areas across 6 community parks in May 2010 and October 2010. Direct observation instruments were used to assess park and neighborhood environment characteristics. Logistic regression was used to determine the relationship between the condition, number of amenities, and number of incivilities in a target area with target area use. Findings Ninety‐seven people were observed across all parks during May 2010 data collection and 116 people during October 2010 data collection. Low park quality index scores and unfavorable neighborhood environment characteristics were observed. There was a significant positive association between number of incivilities in a target area and target area use (OR = 1.91; 95% CI: 1.09‐3.38; P = .03). Conclusions The number of people observed using the parks in this study was low, and it was considerably less than the number observed in other studies. The objective park and neighborhood environment characteristics documented in this study provide a more comprehensive understanding of parks than other studies. Further examining the complex relationship between park and neighborhood environment characteristics and park use is important, as it can inform park administrators and city planners of characteristics that are best able to attract visitors.Peer Reviewedhttp://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/108592/1/jrh12071.pd

    Health-Related Factors Associated with Mode of Travel to Work

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    Active commuting (AC) to the workplace is a potential strategy for incorporating physical activity into daily life and is associated with health benefits. This study examined the association between health-related factors and mode of travel to the workplace. Methods. A volunteer convenience sample of employed adults completed an online survey regarding demographics, health-related factors, and the number of times/week walking, biking, driving, and using public transit to work (dichotomized as no walk/bike/drive/PT and walk/bike/drive/PT 1 + x/week). Logistic regression was used to predict the likelihood of each mode of transport and meeting PA recommendations from AC according to demographics and health-related factors. Results. The sample was aged 43.5 11.4 years and was primarily White (92.7%) and female (67.9%). Respondents reported walking (7.3%), biking (14.4%), taking public transit (20.3%), and driving (78.3%) to work at least one time/week. Among those reporting AC, 9.6% met PA recommendations from AC alone. Mode of travel to work was associated with several demographic and health-related factors, including age, number of chronic diseases, weight status, and AC beliefs. Discussion. Mode of transportation to the workplace and health-related factors such as disease or weight status should be considered in future interventions targeting AC

    The Electronic Community Park Audit Tool (eCPAT): Exploring the Use of Mobile Technology for Youth Empowerment and Advocacy for Healthy Community Policy, Systems, and Environmental Change

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    Empowering and engaging youth in advocacy and participatory action research (PAR) for healthy community environments is an emerging approach to reducing the childhood obesity epidemic. Technology is a promising strategy for engaging youth in such efforts. The Community Park Audit Tool (CPAT) is user-friendly tool for evaluating the ability of parks to promote youth physical activity. Recently an electronic version of the tool (eCPAT) was developed and validated. The purpose of this study was to explore the use of eCPAT mobile technology on youth empowerment and advocacy. This study examined tool usability, youths' technology access, use, and readiness for PAR efforts, effectiveness of mobile technology on youth empowerment and advocacy, interaction effects between tool format and regular technology use, and tool format preferences. Youth ages 11–18 years were recruited and randomized into one of three study conditions: Control (no audit), paper (CPAT), and mobile technology (eCPAT). Intervention youth completed two park audits using assigned format. A subsample of youth in the Control group completed both CPAT and eCPAT audits for comparison. Independent samples t-tests and MANCOVAs explored differences in post-project levels of tool usability and empowerment and advocacy scores between groups. Multivariate linear regression analysis explored the interaction between Control, Paper, or eCPAT group membership and mean technology use in predicting empowerment and advocacy. Youth (n = 124) completed pre and post surveys. The majority of youth had access to technology (smartphone 77.4%, tablet/iPad 67.7%). Youth used mobile technology at least once a day to use apps (M = 7.8, SD = 3.2), browse the web (M = 6.3, SD = 3.3), and search for information (M = 6.3, SD = 3.5). Youth were also ready and willing to use technology for PAR (M = 3.42–3.59). No main or interaction effects were found for post-project levels of youth empowerment or advocacy. However, the eCPAT tool had high usability scores, was better liked, and was preferred by youth over paper-pencil methods. Mobile technologies are ubiquitous and a preferred strategy among youth for engagement in community change. Future studies should explore mobile technology as a potential strategy for engaging youth in ongoing PAR efforts to achieve successful engagement and advocacy in community healthy environmental change

    Physical activity environment and Japanese adults’ body mass index

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    Evidence about the impacts of the physical activity environment on adults’ weight in the context of Asian countries is scarce. Likewise, no study exists in Asia examining whether Walk Score®—a free online walkability tool—is related to obesity. This study aimed to examine associations between multiple physical activity environment measures and Walk Score® ratings with Japanese adults’ body mass index (BMI). Data from 1073 adults in the Healthy Built Environment in Japan study were used. In 2011, participants reported their height and weight. Environmental attributes, including population density, intersection density, density of physical activity facilities, access to public transportation, and availability of sidewalks, were calculated using Geographic Information Systems. Walk Scores® ratings were obtained from the website. Multiple linear regression analysis was conducted to examine the association between each environmental attribute and BMI. Adjusting for covariates, all physical activity environmental attributes were negatively associated with BMI. Similarly, an increase of one standard deviation of Walk Score® was associated with a 0.29 (95% confidence interval (CI) of –0.49-–0.09) decrease in BMI. An activity-friendly built environment was associated with lower adults’ BMI in Japan. Investing in healthy community design may positively impact weight status in non-Western context