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The Relationships between Park Quality, Park Usage, and Levels of Physical Activity in Low-Income, African American Neighborhoods

1
Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
2
Department of Epidemiology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
3
Department of Global Biostatistics and Data Science, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70112, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(1), 85; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16010085
Received: 25 October 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 22 December 2018 / Published: 30 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Collection Physical Activity and Public Health)
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PDF [280 KB, uploaded 30 December 2018]

Abstract

Parks can be an important, low-cost neighborhood resource to increase physical activity and reduce overweight and obesity. The quality of parks, however, may impact use. This study used observational data to examine the relationships between park quality, park usage and levels of physical activity among users in 31 parks within low-income, African American neighborhoods. Relationships between park use and park characteristics (signs of disorder, attractiveness, and number of activity settings) varied by gender and user activity level. No variables of interest were significant for overall number of male users; whereas, disorder and attractiveness were significant for overall number of female users. Parks with signs of disorder were associated with 49% fewer female users (IRR = 0.51, 95% CI = (0.34–0.77)) and attractive parks with 146% more female users (IRR = 2.46, 95% CI = (1.39–4.33)). Similar significant relationships were found among active but not sedentary female users. Communities may consider increasing park maintenance and addressing attractiveness in existing parks as a relatively low-cost environmental strategy to encourage park use, increase physical activity, and reduce the burden of obesity, especially among women in low-income, African-American communities. View Full-Text
Keywords: parks; neighborhoods; physical activity; African American; built environment; disorder parks; neighborhoods; physical activity; African American; built environment; disorder
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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Knapp, M.; Gustat, J.; Darensbourg, R.; Myers, L.; Johnson, C. The Relationships between Park Quality, Park Usage, and Levels of Physical Activity in Low-Income, African American Neighborhoods. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 85.

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