Background: Sociodemographic and environmental factors play important roles in determining both indoor and outdoor play activities in children. Methods: The Built Environment and Active Play Study assessed neighborhood playability for children (7–12 y), based on parental report of their children’s active play behaviors, neighborhood characteristics, and geographic locations. Simple logistic regression modeling tested the associations between sociodemographic characteristics and the frequency of and access to venues for indoor and outdoor play. Results: Children of higher socioeconomic status were almost 3 times more likely to live more than a 30-minute walk from indoor recreational facilities compared with their less affluent peers (odds ratio [OR] = 2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.2–6.8). Non-Hispanic black children were less likely to live more than 30 minutes from indoor facilities (OR = 0.21; 95% CI, 0.08–0.57) and more were likely to engage in indoor activity (OR = 3.40; 95% CI, 1.17–9.88) than were white children. Boys were substantially more likely to play outdoors at a playing fields compared with girls (OR = 5.37; 95% CI, 2.10–13.69). Conclusions: Findings from this study could be used to enhance indoor and outdoor activity spaces for children and to reduce disparities in access to such spaces.
Robin C. Puett, Dina Huang, Jessica Montresor-Lopez, Rashawn Ray and Jennifer D. Roberts
Robin Puett, Jane Teas, Vanesa España-Romero, Enrique Garcia Artero, Duck-chul Lee, Meghan Baruth, Xuemei Sui, Jessica Montresor-López and Steven N. Blair
The importance of physical activity for health is well-established. Questions remain whether outdoor exercise additionally benefits overall mental and physical well-being.
Using cross-sectional data from the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study, we examined relationships of physical activity environment (PAE) with reported tension, stress, emotional outlook, and health.
11,649 participants were included. 18% exercised indoors, 54% outdoors, and 28% in both. Participants who exercised partially or entirely outdoors exercised more. In fully adjusted models, for women combined PAE was protective for worse emotional outlook (OR: 0.72; 95% CI: 0.52–0.98). Combined PAE was also protective for reported poor health (OR for women: 0.63; 95% CI: 0.44–0.91; OR for men: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.61–0.92). Amount of physical activity modified PAE relationships with outcomes. Combined and outdoor PAE were more consistently protective for worse outcomes among high activity participants. Regardless of PAE, better outcomes were observed in active versus inactive participants.
The current study suggests addition of outdoor PAE may be linked with better stress management, outlook and health perceptions for more active populations, whereas indoor PAE may be more important for low active populations. Further research should examine the order of causation and whether type of outdoor PAE (eg, urban, natural) is important.