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Associations of neighborhood characteristics with active park use : an observational study in two cities in the USA and Belgium

Delfien Van Dyck UGent, James F Sallis, Greet Cardon UGent, Benedicte Deforche UGent, Marc A Adams, Carrie Geremia and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij UGent (2013) INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEALTH GEOGRAPHICS. 12.
abstract
Background: Public parks can be an important setting for physical activity promotion, but to increase park use and the activity levels of park users, the crucial attributes related to active park use need to be defined. Not only user characteristics and structural park attributes, but also characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood are important to examine. Furthermore, internationally comparable studies are needed, to find out if similar intervention strategies might be effective worldwide. The main aim of this study was to examine whether the overall number of park visitors and their activity levels depend on study site, neighborhood walkability and neighborhood income. Methods: Data were collected in 20 parks in Ghent, Belgium and San Diego, USA. Two trained observers systematically coded park characteristics using the Environmental Assessment of Public Recreation Spaces (EAPRS) tool, and park user characteristics using the System for Observing Play and recreation in Communities (SOPARC) tool. Multilevel multiple regression models were conducted in MLwiN 2.25. Results: In San Diego parks, activity levels of park visitors and number of vigorously active visitors were higher than in Ghent, while the number of visitors walking and the overall number of park visitors were lower. Neighborhood walkability was positively associated with the overall number of visitors, the number of visitors walking, number of sedentary visitors and mean activity levels of visitors. Neighborhood income was positively associated with the overall number of visitors, but negatively with the number of visitors being vigorously active. Conclusions: Neighborhood characteristics are important to explain park use. Neighborhood walkability-related attributes should be taken into account when promoting the use of existing parks or creating new parks. Because no strong differences were found between parks in high-and low-income neighborhoods, it seems that promoting park use might be a promising strategy to increase physical activity in low-income populations, known to be at higher risk for overweight and obesity.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
HEALTH, EAPRS, OBESITY, BEHAVIOR, RESIDENTS, DETERMINANTS, WALKABILITY, ENVIRONMENTS, PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY, ADULTS, Green space, Physical activity, ATTRIBUTES, SOPARC, Income, Walkability
journal title
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEALTH GEOGRAPHICS
Int. J. Health Geogr.
volume
12
article number
26
pages
9 pages
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000318854000001
JCR category
PUBLIC, ENVIRONMENTAL & OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
JCR impact factor
1.967 (2013)
JCR rank
34/143 (2013)
JCR quartile
1 (2013)
ISSN
1476-072X
DOI
10.1186/1476-072X-12-26
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
4112542
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-4112542
date created
2013-08-12 11:21:30
date last changed
2018-03-02 14:56:00
@article{4112542,
  abstract     = {Background: Public parks can be an important setting for physical activity promotion, but to increase park use and the activity levels of park users, the crucial attributes related to active park use need to be defined. Not only user characteristics and structural park attributes, but also characteristics of the surrounding neighborhood are important to examine. Furthermore, internationally comparable studies are needed, to find out if similar intervention strategies might be effective worldwide. The main aim of this study was to examine whether the overall number of park visitors and their activity levels depend on study site, neighborhood walkability and neighborhood income. 
Methods: Data were collected in 20 parks in Ghent, Belgium and San Diego, USA. Two trained observers systematically coded park characteristics using the Environmental Assessment of Public Recreation Spaces (EAPRS) tool, and park user characteristics using the System for Observing Play and recreation in Communities (SOPARC) tool. Multilevel multiple regression models were conducted in MLwiN 2.25. 
Results: In San Diego parks, activity levels of park visitors and number of vigorously active visitors were higher than in Ghent, while the number of visitors walking and the overall number of park visitors were lower. Neighborhood walkability was positively associated with the overall number of visitors, the number of visitors walking, number of sedentary visitors and mean activity levels of visitors. Neighborhood income was positively associated with the overall number of visitors, but negatively with the number of visitors being vigorously active. 
Conclusions: Neighborhood characteristics are important to explain park use. Neighborhood walkability-related attributes should be taken into account when promoting the use of existing parks or creating new parks. Because no strong differences were found between parks in high-and low-income neighborhoods, it seems that promoting park use might be a promising strategy to increase physical activity in low-income populations, known to be at higher risk for overweight and obesity.},
  articleno    = {26},
  author       = {Van Dyck, Delfien and Sallis, James F and Cardon, Greet and Deforche, Benedicte and Adams, Marc A and Geremia, Carrie and De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse},
  issn         = {1476-072X},
  journal      = {INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEALTH GEOGRAPHICS},
  keyword      = {HEALTH,EAPRS,OBESITY,BEHAVIOR,RESIDENTS,DETERMINANTS,WALKABILITY,ENVIRONMENTS,PHYSICAL-ACTIVITY,ADULTS,Green space,Physical activity,ATTRIBUTES,SOPARC,Income,Walkability},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {9},
  title        = {Associations of neighborhood characteristics with active park use : an observational study in two cities in the USA and Belgium},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1476-072X-12-26},
  volume       = {12},
  year         = {2013},
}

Chicago
Van Dyck, Delfien, James F Sallis, Greet Cardon, Benedicte Deforche, Marc A Adams, Carrie Geremia, and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij. 2013. “Associations of Neighborhood Characteristics with Active Park Use : an Observational Study in Two Cities in the USA and Belgium.” International Journal of Health Geographics 12.
APA
Van Dyck, Delfien, Sallis, J. F., Cardon, G., Deforche, B., Adams, M. A., Geremia, C., & De Bourdeaudhuij, I. (2013). Associations of neighborhood characteristics with active park use : an observational study in two cities in the USA and Belgium. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEALTH GEOGRAPHICS, 12.
Vancouver
1.
Van Dyck D, Sallis JF, Cardon G, Deforche B, Adams MA, Geremia C, et al. Associations of neighborhood characteristics with active park use : an observational study in two cities in the USA and Belgium. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEALTH GEOGRAPHICS. 2013;12.
MLA
Van Dyck, Delfien, James F Sallis, Greet Cardon, et al. “Associations of Neighborhood Characteristics with Active Park Use : an Observational Study in Two Cities in the USA and Belgium.” INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HEALTH GEOGRAPHICS 12 (2013): n. pag. Print.