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Examining Health-Related Effects of Refurbishment to Parks in a Lower Socioeconomic Area: The ShadePlus Natural Experiment

1
Cancer Council Victoria, Melbourne, VIC 3004, Australia
2
Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia
3
Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition (IPAN), School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
4
School of Psychology, Deakin University, Geelong, VIC 3220, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(17), 6102; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176102
Received: 26 June 2020 / Revised: 8 August 2020 / Accepted: 9 August 2020 / Published: 21 August 2020
Degraded parks in disadvantaged areas are underutilized for recreation, which may impact long-term health. Using a natural experiment, we examined the effects of local government refurbishments to parks (n = 3 intervention; n = 3 comparison) in low socioeconomic areas (LSEA) of Melbourne on park use, health behavior, social engagement and psychological well-being. Amenities promoting physical activity and sun protection included walking paths, playground equipment and built shade. Outcomes were measured via systematic observations, and self-report surveys of park visitors over three years. The refurbishments significantly increased park use, while shade use increased only in parks with shade sails. A trend for increased social engagement was also detected. Findings infer improvement of quality, number and type of amenities in degraded parks can substantially increase park use in LSEA. Findings support provision of shade over well-designed playgrounds in future park refurbishments to enhance engagement and sun protection behavior. Further research should identify park amenities to increase physical activity. View Full-Text
Keywords: public health; intervention; parks/trails; neighborhood/community; behavior change; active living; low income public health; intervention; parks/trails; neighborhood/community; behavior change; active living; low income
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MDPI and ACS Style

Dobbinson, S.J.; Simmons, J.; Chamberlain, J.A.; MacInnis, R.J.; Salmon, J.; Staiger, P.K.; Wakefield, M.; Veitch, J. Examining Health-Related Effects of Refurbishment to Parks in a Lower Socioeconomic Area: The ShadePlus Natural Experiment. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17, 6102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176102

AMA Style

Dobbinson SJ, Simmons J, Chamberlain JA, MacInnis RJ, Salmon J, Staiger PK, Wakefield M, Veitch J. Examining Health-Related Effects of Refurbishment to Parks in a Lower Socioeconomic Area: The ShadePlus Natural Experiment. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2020; 17(17):6102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176102

Chicago/Turabian Style

Dobbinson, Suzanne J., Jody Simmons, James A. Chamberlain, Robert J. MacInnis, Jo Salmon, Petra K. Staiger, Melanie Wakefield, and Jenny Veitch. 2020. "Examining Health-Related Effects of Refurbishment to Parks in a Lower Socioeconomic Area: The ShadePlus Natural Experiment" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 17, no. 17: 6102. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17176102

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