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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 97; doi:10.3390/ijerph13010097

A Walk in the Park: The Influence of Urban Parks and Community Violence on Physical Activity in Chelsea, MA

Boston University School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, MA 02118, USA
Chelsea Collaborative, Chelsea, MA 02150, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Harry Timmermans, Astrid Kemperman and Pauline van den Berg
Received: 11 November 2015 / Revised: 17 December 2015 / Accepted: 28 December 2015 / Published: 4 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Impacts of the Built Environment on Public Health)
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Proximity to a park does not necessarily imply access or use, and the social environment may positively or negatively influence the positive intentions of the built environment. To investigate parks, park use and physical activity, and their associations with exposure to community violence, we interviewed residents (n = 354) of a densely populated urban community. Our findings indicate that proximity to any park is not associated with physical activity. However, proximity to the preferred park reported by residents to be conducive for physical activity (with walking paths, large fields, playgrounds for children and tennis courts) was associated with physical activity. Conversely, knowledge of sexual assault or rape in the neighborhood is inversely associated with every type of physical activity (park-based, outdoor, and indoor). Our findings suggest that improvements to the built environment (parks, green spaces) may be hindered by adverse social environments and both are necessary for consideration in the design of public health interventions. View Full-Text
Keywords: built environment; physical activity; safety; parks; urban environment; Latino built environment; physical activity; safety; parks; urban environment; Latino

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Ou, J.Y.; Levy, J.I.; Peters, J.L.; Bongiovanni, R.; Garcia-Soto, J.; Medina, R.; Scammell, M.K. A Walk in the Park: The Influence of Urban Parks and Community Violence on Physical Activity in Chelsea, MA. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 97.

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