User Demographics and Physical Activity Behaviors on a Newly Constructed Urban Rail/Trail Conversion

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health

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Julian A. Reed
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Steven P. Hooker
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Suresh Muthukrishnan
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Brent Hutto
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Background:

To examine demographic characteristics and physical activity (PA) behaviors of trail users on a newly constructed 2-mile urban rail/trail (ie, abandoned rail line converted to a recreational trail).

Methods:

A systematic evaluation process was initiated to monitor PA behaviors using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC).

Results:

Slightly more males (n = 2578, 54%) than females (n = 2198, 46%) were observed using the rail/trail since its inception. A significant age group difference (F = 16.68, P < .001) was observed among users with the vast majority being adults (n = 3317, 69%). Women were 2.2 times more likely than men (95% CI 1.7−3.0) to be sedentary rather than vigorously active adjusted for age and race. Whites were 2.8 times more likely than nonwhites (95% CI 2.4−3.2) to engage in vigorous activity rather than walking, adjusted for age and gender. Rail/trail users resided on average 2.89 miles from the trail.

Discussion:

The most frequent users of the rail/trail were male, white adults, and observed PA varied for gender and age. More research is needed to better understand differences in patterns of trail use by various population groups.

Reed is with the Dept of Health and Exercise Science, Furman University, Greenville, SC. Hooker is Director of the Prevention Research Center, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Muthukrishnan is with the Dept of Earth and Environmental Science, Furman University, Greenville, SC. Hutto is with the Prevention Research Center, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

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