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  • Author: Cheryl-Anne Arant x
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Julian A. Reed, Andrea Morrison and Cheryl-Anne Arant

Background:

The goal of this study was to examine activity behavior differences between users of natural-surface versus paved trails.

Methods:

The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) direct observation instrument was used to measure activity and demographic information. Survey data were used to compare perception difference and body mass index (BMI) values among trail users.

Results:

Significantly more paved-trail users were female (F = 10.63, P = .001). A larger percentage of paved-trail users reported it to be very safe (F = 4.462, P = .036). Natural-surface-trail users participated in more vigorous activity (F = 83.93, P = .000). Natural-surface-trail users reported participating in longer activity bouts (F = 5.133; P = .024).

Conclusion:

Natural-surface-trail users engaged in more vigorous activity, for a longer duration, and had lower self-reported BMI values.

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Julian A. Reed, Cheryl-Anne Arant, Princess Wells, Katherine Stevens, Sandra Hagen and Holly Harring

Background:

The purpose was to examine 9 adult activity settings in 25 community parks to determine the most and least frequently used by gender, physical-activity (PA) intensity, and ethnicity.

Methods:

All activity settings were identified, measured, and cataloged with GIS measures using the SOPARC direct observation instrument. Each setting was assessed 4 times a day for 7 consecutive days.

Results:

Significantly more male adults were observed at the 25 parks (1598 versus 946; 63% versus 37%). Nine hundred fifty-eight (60%) male adults and 771 (81.1%) female adults used the paved trails. The second most heavily used activity setting for male adults was the softball and baseball fields (n = 239, 14.9%), and female adults chose to use the swimming pools (n = 45, 4.5%). Whites participated in considerably more vigorous PA than minorities.

Conclusions:

Paved trails were only in 5 of the 25 parks but were the most frequently used activity setting.