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Cecilia del Campo Vega, Veronica Tutte, Gustavo Bermudez and Diana C. Parra

and use of the method System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) in countries such as Colombia and Brazil, 15 – 17 we chose this method to determine the number of users of PA and the level of use before and after the installation of a FZ in the plaza Liber Seregni. SOPARC has

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Deborah A. Cohen, Claude Setodji, Kelly R. Evenson, Phillip Ward, Sandra Lapham, Amy Hillier and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

The Systematic Observation of Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) was designed to estimate the number and characteristics of people using neighborhood parks by assessing them 4 times/day, 7 days/week. We tested whether this schedule was adequate and determined the minimum number of observations necessary to provide a robust estimate of park user characteristics and their physical activity levels.

Methods:

We conducted observations every hour for 14 hours per day during 1 summer and 1 autumn week in 10 urban neighborhood parks: 2 each in Los Angeles, CA; Albuquerque, NM; Columbus, OH; Durham, NC; and Philadelphia, PA. We counted park users by gender, age group, apparent race/ethnicity, and activity level. We used a standardized Cronbach’s alpha and intraclass correlation coefficients to test the reliability of using fewer observations.

Results:

We observed 76,632 individuals, an average of 547/park/day (range 155−786). Interobserver reliability ranged from 0.80 to 0.99. Obtaining a robust estimate of park user characteristics and their physical activity required a schedule of 4 days/week, 4 times/day.

Conclusion:

An abbreviated schedule of SOPARC was sufficient for estimating park use, park user characteristics, and physical activity. Applying these observation methods can augment physical activity surveillance.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, Deborah A. Cohen, Amber Sehgal, Stephanie Williamson and Daniela Golinelli

Background:

New tools are needed to examine physical activity and the contexts in which it occurs. Community parks contribute to physical activity, but measuring activity and associated variables in them is challenging because area contexts change and the numbers and characteristics of users are highly variable.

Methods:

We developed SOPARC (System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities) and tested its use by observing 16,244 individuals in 165 park areas. Reliabilities included 472 simultaneous measures by independent observers.

Results:

Correlations between observers on number of area participants was 0.99 for female and male park users. Reliabilities (i.e., percent agreement) for age (89%, females; 85%, males), race/ethnic (80%, females; 82%, males), and activity level (80%, females; 88%, males) groupings met acceptable criteria. Reliabilities for area contexts (i.e., usable, accessible, supervised, organized, equipped) exceeded 94%.

Conclusions:

SOPARC is a reliable and feasible instrument for assessing physical activity and associated contextual data in community settings.

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Jason N. Bocarro, Myron Floyd, Robin Moore, Perver Baran, Tom Danninger, William Smith and Nilda Cosco

Background:

To better measure physical activity (PA) in outdoor environments, McKenzie and colleagues developed the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC). However, previous SOPARC research has focused on adults, seniors, teens and children. One avenue for extending this work is to expand the child age group code to capture important nuances that can influence children's PA and their environments. This study reports on the reliability of a measure designed to account for PA in parks among children in different childhood age groups.

Methods:

Three groups were developed: 0 to 5 years old (Young Children); 6 to 12 (Middle Childhood) and 13 to 18 (Older Children) based on Erikson's stages of child development. Data were obtained by direct observation in 3 neighborhood parks in Raleigh, NC and 20 neighborhood parks in Durham, NC.

Results:

Kappa coefficients showed high agreement for all age group, gender, and PA codes. For the 3 assessments, the results show that the 3 age group category exhibit acceptable reliability for measuring PA in parks among children.

Conclusions:

The reliability of measuring PA among children by segmenting children by 3 age groups was established. This approach is recommended for future studies of PA among children in parks and other outdoor environments.

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Richard R. Suminski, Gregory M. Dominick, Philip Saponaro, Elizabeth M. Orsega-Smith, Eric Plautz and Matthew Saponaro

including PA. The System for Observing Play and Active Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) is the most widely used tool for assessing park use ( Evenson, Jones, Holliday, Cohen & McKenzie, 2016 ; McKenzie, 2016 ). It uses momentary time sampling in which trained observers scan pre-defined, “target” areas of

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Gregory W. Heath and John Bilderback

Observing Physical Activity and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), we examined the transportation and recreational corridors, including sidewalks, urban trails, park areas, and school environs of south and east Chattanooga and measured transport physical activity (ie, walking and bicycling); sports

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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.

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Julian A. Reed, Steven P. Hooker, Suresh Muthukrishnan and Brent Hutto

Background:

To examine demographic characteristics and physical activity (PA) behaviors of trail users on a newly constructed 2-mile urban rail/trail (ie, abandoned rail line converted to a recreational trail).

Methods:

A systematic evaluation process was initiated to monitor PA behaviors using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC).

Results:

Slightly more males (n = 2578, 54%) than females (n = 2198, 46%) were observed using the rail/trail since its inception. A significant age group difference (F = 16.68, P < .001) was observed among users with the vast majority being adults (n = 3317, 69%). Women were 2.2 times more likely than men (95% CI 1.7−3.0) to be sedentary rather than vigorously active adjusted for age and race. Whites were 2.8 times more likely than nonwhites (95% CI 2.4−3.2) to engage in vigorous activity rather than walking, adjusted for age and gender. Rail/trail users resided on average 2.89 miles from the trail.

Discussion:

The most frequent users of the rail/trail were male, white adults, and observed PA varied for gender and age. More research is needed to better understand differences in patterns of trail use by various population groups.

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Viviene Temple, Ryan Rhodes and Joan Wharf Higgins

Background:

Walking has been identified as a low resourced yet effective means of achieving physical activity levels required for optimal health. From studies conducted around the world, we know that dog owners walk more than nondog owners. However, this evidence is largely self-reported which may not accurately reflect dog-owners’ behaviors.

Method:

To address this concern, we systematically observed the use of 6 different public parks in Victoria, British Columbia during fair and inclement weather. Using a modified version of the SOPARC tool, we documented visitors’ types of physical activity, and the presence or absence of dogs. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment was used to consider park features, amenities, and incivilities.

Results:

More people without dogs (73%) visited the parks than those with dogs (27%), largely because of attendance at the multiuse sport parks during the summer months. Despite the opportunities to engage in multiple sports, most people used the parks to walk. However, when inclement weather struck, dog owners continued visiting parks and sustained their walking practices significantly more than nondog owners.

Conclusion:

Our observational snapshot of park use supports earlier work that dogs serve as a motivational support for their owners’ walking practices through fair and foul weather.