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Wendell C. Taylor, Myron F. Floyd, Melicia C. Whitt-Glover, and Joseph Brooks

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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