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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(4), 411; doi:10.3390/ijerph13040411

Urban Park Development and Pediatric Obesity Rates: A Quasi-Experiment Using Electronic Health Record Data

1
Office of Energetics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
2
Nutrition Obesity Research Center, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
3
Department of Global Health Management and Policy, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
4
Department of Health Care Organization and Policy, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
5
Department of Health Policy and Management, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX 77843, USA
6
Scientific Technologies Corporation, Scottsdale, AZ 85258, USA
7
Jefferson County Department of Health, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA
8
Division of General Internal Medicine, The Duke Clinical Research Institute, Duke University, Durham, NC 27705, USA
9
Department of Biostatistics, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA
10
Department Health Policy and Management, Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 9 February 2016 / Revised: 30 March 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
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Abstract

Introduction: Childhood obesity affects ~20% of children in the United States. Environmental influences, such as parks, are linked with increased physical activity (PA). Objective: To examine whether changes in Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score were associated with construction of a new park. Methods: A quasi-experimental design was used to determine whether living in proximity of a park was associated with a reduction in BMI z-score. Children were selected from health clinics within an 11 mile radius of the park. A repeated-measure ANOVA was employed for analysis of the relationship between exposure (new park) and BMI z-score. Results: Participants were 1443 (median age 10.3 range (2–17.9 years), BMI: z-score 0.84 ± 1.09) African American (77.4%) adolescents. Change in BMI z-score was not statistically different for children living at different distances from the park after controlling for age, gender, race, ethnicity, or payer type (p = 0.4482). We did observe a small 0.03 increase in BMI z-score from pre- to post-park (p = 0.0007). There was a significant positive association between child’s baseline age and BMI z-score (p < 0.001). Conclusions: This study found proximity to a park was not associated with reductions in BMI z-score. Additional efforts to understand the complex relationship between park proximity, access, and PA are warranted. View Full-Text
Keywords: childhood obesity; built environment; quasi-experiment; electronic health records childhood obesity; built environment; quasi-experiment; electronic health records
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MDPI and ACS Style

Goldsby, T.U.; George, B.J.; Yeager, V.A.; Sen, B.P.; Ferdinand, A.; Sims, D.M.T.; Manzella, B.; Cockrell Skinner, A.; Allison, D.B.; Menachemi, N. Urban Park Development and Pediatric Obesity Rates: A Quasi-Experiment Using Electronic Health Record Data. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 411.

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