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  • Author: Ariane L. Rung x
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Ariane L. Bedimo-Rung, Jeanette Gustat, Bradley J. Tompkins, Janet Rice and Jessica Thomson

Background:

The study’s purpose is to describe the development and evaluate the reliability (inter-observer agreement) and validity (rater agreement with a gold standard) of a direct observation instrument to assess park characteristics that may be related to physical activity.

Methods:

A direct observation instrument of 181 items was developed based on a conceptual model consisting of the following domains: features, condition, access, esthetics, and safety. Fifteen pairs of observers were trained and sent to two parks simultaneously to assess two Target Areas each.

Results:

Overall domain reliability was 86.9%, and overall geographic area reliability was 87.5%. Overall domain validity was 78.7% and overall geographic area validity was 81.5%.

Conclusions:

Inter-rater reliability and validity were generally good, although validity was slightly lower than reliability. Objective items showed the highest reliability and validity. Items that are time-sensitive may need to be measured on multiple occasions, while items asking for subjective responses may require more supervised practice.

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Ariane L. Rung, Andrew J. Mowen, Stephanie T. Broyles and Jeanette Gustat

Background:

Neighborhood parks play an important role in promoting physical activity. We examined the effect of activity area, condition, and presence of supporting features on number of park users and park-based physical activity levels.

Methods:

37 parks and 154 activity areas within parks were assessed during summer 2008 for their features and park-based physical activity. Outcomes included any park use, number of park users, mean and total energy expenditure. Independent variables included type and condition of activity area, supporting features, size of activity area, gender, and day of week. Multilevel models controlled for clustering of observations at activity area and park levels.

Results:

Type of activity area was associated with number of park users, mean and total energy expenditure, with basketball courts having the highest number of users and total energy expenditure, and playgrounds having the highest mean energy expenditure. Condition of activity areas was positively associated with number of basketball court users and inversely associated with number of green space users and total green space energy expenditure. Various supporting features were both positively and negatively associated with each outcome.

Conclusions:

This study provides evidence regarding characteristics of parks that can contribute to achieving physical activity goals within recreational spaces.

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JoAnn Kuo, Kathryn H. Schmitz, Kelly R. Evenson, Thomas L. McKenzie, Jared B. Jobe, Ariane L. Rung, Joel Gittelsohn and Russell R. Pate

Background:

With limited opportunities for physical activity during school hours, it is important to understand the contexts of physical activities done outside of school time. Given the importance of physical and social aspects of environments, the purpose of this study was to describe where and with whom girls participate in physical activities outside of school.

Methods:

Participants were 1925 sixth-grade girls in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG). At baseline, they completed a 3-day physical activity recall (3DPAR), reporting the main activity performed during 30-minute intervals and the physical and social contexts of physical activities.

Results:

The most frequently reported physical activities done outside of school time were house chores, walking (for transportation or exercise), dance, basketball, playing with younger children, and running or jogging. The most common location for these activities was at home or in the neighborhood. With the exception of household chores, these activities were typically done with at least one other person.

Conclusions:

Interventions that promote physical activities that can be done at or around home or developing supportive social networks for physical activity would be consistent with the current physical activity contexts of adolescent girls.

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Ariane L. Bedimo-Rung, Jessica L. Thomson, Andrew J. Mowen, Jeanette Gustat, Bradley J. Tompkins, Patricia K. Strikmiller and Melinda S. Sothern

Background:

Parks provide environments for physical activity, yet little is known about how natural disasters affect them or how these disasters alter physical activity. Our objectives were to (1) describe the development of an instrument to assess park conditions following a hurricane and (2) document the conditions of New Orleans’ parks 3 and 6 months after Hurricane Katrina.

Methods:

A Post-Hurricane Assessment (PHA) instrument was developed and implemented in 54 parks 3 and 6 months post-hurricane.

Results:

Summary scores of the Park Damage Index and the Neighborhood Damage Index showed improvement between 3 and 6 months of data collection. Parks and neighborhoods most affected by the hurricane were located in the most- and least-affluent areas of the city.

Conclusion:

The PHA proved to be a promising tool for assessing park conditions in a timely manner following a natural disaster and allowed for the creation of summary damage scores to correlate to community changes.

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Deborah A. Cohen, Scott Ashwood, Molly Scott, Adrian Overton, Kelly R. Evenson, Carolyn C. Voorhees, Ariane Bedimo-Rung and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Proximity to routine destinations is an important correlate of physical activity. We examined the association between distance from school and physical activity in adolescent girls.

Methods:

We mapped the addresses of 1554 sixth-grade girls who participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) Study and calculated the shortest distance from home to school along the street network. Using a hierarchical design we examined the association between MET-weighted moderate to vigorous physical activity (MW- MVPA) and distance to school, while controlling for potential confounders.

Results:

Distance to school was inversely associated with weekday MW- MVPA for middle school girls. For every mile the girls lived from their schools, they engaged in an average of 13 fewer MET-weighted minutes per week.

Conclusions:

Distance to school is inversely associated with MW-MVPA. The most adversely affected girls lived more than 5 miles from school. Time spent commuting could explain reduced time for physical activity.

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Carolyn C. Voorhees, Dianne J. Catellier, J. Scott Ashwood, Deborah A. Cohen, Ariane Rung, Leslie Lytle, Terry L. Conway and Marsha Dowda

Background:

Socioeconomic status (SES) has well known associations with a variety of health conditions and behaviors in adults but is unknown in adolescents.

Methods:

Multilevel analysis was conducted to examine the associations between individual and neighborhood-level measures of SES and physical activity and body mass index in a sample of 1554 6th grade girls selected at random from 36 middle schools across 6 geographic regions in the United States that participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG). Data on parental education and employment, and receipt of subsidized school lunch were collected by questionnaire. Neighborhood-level SES was measured by the Townsend Index. Nonschool physical activity levels were measured by accelerometer and type, location and context was measured using a 3 day physical activity recall (3DPAR).

Results:

After controlling for race, lower parental education and higher levels of social deprivation were associated with higher BMI. In a model with both variables, effects were attenuated and only race remained statistically significant. None of the indices of SES were related to accelerometer measured physical activity. Bivariate associations with self-reported Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) location and type (3DPAR) varied by SES.

Conclusion:

Among adolescent girls in the TAAG Study, the prevalence of overweight is high and inversely related to individual and neighborhood SES.