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Lorna H. McNeill, Karolina Murguia, Nga Nguyen, and Wendell C. Taylor

Background:

Walking trails are positively associated with physical activity; however, few studies have been conducted among diverse communities. We sought to describe trail use and the physical and social environmental correlates of trail use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample.

Methods:

We administered an on-site trail intercept survey to walkers on a trail (N = 175). We assessed frequency/duration of trail use, reasons for using the trail, perceptions of the trail, demographics and BMI.

Results:

Walkers were primarily young (mean age = 37.8 years, SD = 11.8) and overweight (mean BMI = 25.2 kg/m2, SD = 4.2). Time spent on the trail and frequency of trail use differed significantly by age (P = .004) but not race/ethnicity. Perceptions of the trail differed significantly by sex and race/ethnicity (P-values = .001, .014, respectively). In regression models, different factors predicted time spent on the trail and frequency of trail use.

Conclusions:

Walkers were frequent users of the trail and cited many favorable features of the trail that encouraged their use. Duration and frequency of trail use did not differ by race/ethnicity or sex, thereby indicating that when provided with safe access, racial/ethnic minorities and women may be likely to use trails at rates similar to those of Whites and men.

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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.

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Emily Lees, Wendell C. Taylor, Joseph T. Hepworth, Karina Feliz, Andrea Cassells, and Jonathan N. Tobin

Despite the numerous benefits of physical activity, older adults continue to be more sedentary than their younger counterparts, and sedentary behavior is more prevalent among older racial and ethnic minorities than among Whites. This study used the nominal group technique (NGT) to examine participants’ perceptions of what neighborhood environmental changes would encourage greater physical activity for older African American and Hispanic women. Participants age 50–75 years were recruited from 2 urban community health clinics. Nine NGT sessions (45 participants) were conducted. The women were asked what changes in their neighborhood environment would encourage them to become more physically active. Responses to the research question were tabulated, and qualitative analysis was used to identify themes and categories. Major categories were physical environment changes, safety, and activities/social support. Although the physical environment received the greatest number of points, concerns for personal safety cut across categories. Participants indicated the need for more facilities in which to be active.

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Wendell C. Taylor, Walker S. Carlos Poston, Lovell Jones, and M. Katherine Kraft

Background:

The term “environmental justice” refers to efforts to address the disproportionate exposure to and burden of harmful environmental conditions experienced by low-income and racial/ethnic minority populations.

Methods:

Based on computer and manual searches, this paper presents a review of articles in the published literature that discuss disparities in physical activity, dietary habits, and obesity among different populations.

Results:

This paper provides evidence that economically disadvantaged and racial/ethnic minority populations have substantial environmental challenges to overcome to become physically active, to acquire healthy dietary habits, and to maintain a healthy weight. For example, residents living in poorer areas have more environmental barriers to overcome to be physically active.

Conclusions:

We propose a research agenda to specifically address environmental justice with regard to improving physical activity, dietary habits, and weight patterns.

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Wendell C. Taylor, James F. Sallis, Emily Lees, Joseph T. Hepworth, Karina Feliz, Devin C. Volding, Andrea Cassels, and Jonathan N. Tobin

Background:

Middle age and older (mean = 58.7 y), racial/ethnic minority women report low levels of physical activity. Recommendations to change the social and built environments to promote physical activity in this group are underdeveloped. Two research questions guided this study: What environmental changes are recommended by racial/ethnic minority women? What policies are related to the environmental changes?

Methods:

The findings from nine Nominal Group Technique sessions with 45 subjects were analyzed.

Results:

More police protection, cleaner streets, removal of drugs from streets, more street lights, walking groups, and free gyms were prioritized by subjects as the most important recommendations. The relevant policies included municipal, police department, sanitation department, public works, and transportation department.

Conclusions:

Racial/ethnic minority women living in low income, urban areas recommend improvements that affect overall quality of life. Meeting basic needs may be a prerequisite for use of physical activity resources.