Validating and Shortening the Environmental Assessment of Public Recreation Spaces Observational Measure

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Assessment of park characteristics that may support physical activity (PA) can guide the design of more activity-supportive parks. Direct-observation measures are seldom used due to time and resource restraints. Methods: The authors developed shortened versions of the original Environmental Assessment of Public Recreation Spaces (EAPRS) tool and tested their construct validity by comparing scores from 40 parks in San Diego, CA to observe park use and PA. Results: PA elements were positively associated with park use and park PA across all versions, with the highest correlations for trails (.45 for use and .51 for PA using EAPRS-Original; .57 use and .62 PA using Abbreviated; and .38 use and .43 PA using Mini). Presence of amenities, using Abbreviated and Mini versions, was correlated with park use (.71, .64) and PA (.67, .59). The overall park quality score using Abbreviated and Mini had similar correlations (adjusted for park size) with park use (.74, .72) and PA (.72, .70) as EAPRS-Original (.71 use and .73 PA). Conclusion: In all 3 versions, EAPRS overall park scores were strongly related to observed park use and PA. Shorter versions of EAPRS make it more feasible to use park observations in research and practice.

Geremia, Cain, Conway, and Sallis are with the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA. Saelens is with the Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Research Institute, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Geremia (cgeremia@ucsd.edu) is corresponding author.
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