Environmental Justice: A Framework for Collaboration Between the Public Health and Parks and Recreation Fields to Study Disparities in Physical Activity

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Despite the importance of physical activity (PA) for good health, not all populations have equal access to PA facilities and resources. This disparity is an environmental justice (EJ) issue because of the negative impact on the health of low-income and racial/ethnic minorities.


This paper reviews the first wave of the EJ movement, presents the second wave of the EJ movement, discusses the implications of adopting principles from the EJ movement to focus on research in parks and recreation services (PRS), and recommends future research directions.


Studies on EJ have documented the disproportionate burden of environmental challenges experienced by low-income and racial/ethnic minorities. With regard to PA, these communities face inadequate access to, quality of, financing for, and public involvement in recreation opportunities.


EJ is a useful framework to facilitate collaborative research between public health and PRS to study racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in PA.

Taylor is with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX 77030. Floyd is with North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695. Whitt-Glover is with the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27517. Brooks is with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341. The findings and conclusions of this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the CDC.