The Impacts of Building a Greenway on Proximate Residents’ Physical Activity

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Stephanie T. West
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Kindal A. Shores
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A significant association has been identified between physical activity and proximity to greenways. However, residents more likely to be active may have selected to live near existing greenways. The purpose of this study was to determine whether development of a new greenway has the potential to increase activity levels of existing, proximate residents.


In 2008, survey data were collected before and after 5 miles of greenway were added to an existing greenway.


When comparing residents living nearest (≤ .50 miles) the new greenway section with those living further (.51−1.0 miles), days spent walking and participating in moderate physical activity increased. Despite mean increases, no significant interactions were detected.


Although evidence is inconclusive, apparent increases in walking and moderate activity suggest development of a greenway proximate to residents’ homes is likely to have a positive effect on participation levels. Additional research is needed to address article limitations.

West is with the Dept of Health, Leisure, and Exercise Science, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC. Shores is with the Dept of Recreation and Leisure Studies, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC.

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