Factors That Influence Park Use and Physical Activity in Predominantly Hispanic and Low-Income Neighborhoods

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

Park features’ association with physical activity among predominantly Hispanic communities is not extensively researched. The purpose of this study was to assess factors associated with park use and physical activity among park users in predominantly Hispanic neighborhoods.

Methods:

Data were collected across 6 parks and included park environmental assessments to evaluate park features, physical activity observations to estimate physical activity energy expenditure as kcal/kg/minute per person, and park user interviews to assess motivators for park use. Quantitative data analysis included independent t tests and ANOVA. Thematic analysis of park user interviews was conducted collectively and by parks.

Results:

Parks that were renovated had higher physical activity energy expenditure scores (mean = .086 ± .027) than nonrenovated parks (mean = .077 ± .028; t = −3.804; P < .01). Basketball courts had a significantly higher number of vigorously active park users (mean = 1.84 ± .08) than tennis courts (mean = .15 ± .01; F = 21.9, η2 = 6.1%, P < .01). Thematic analysis of qualitative data revealed 4 emerging themes—motivation to be physically active, using the play spaces in the park, parks as the main place for physical activity, and social support for using parks.

Conclusion:

Renovations to park amenities, such as increasing basketball courts and trail availability, could potentially increase physical activity among low-socioeconomic-status populations.

The authors are with the Dept of Kinesiology, Health, and Nutrition, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX.

Sosa (erica.sosa@utsa.edu) is corresponding author.
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