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Christopher Coutts, Timothy Chapin, Mark Horner and Crystal Taylor

Background:

Parks and other forms of green space are among the key environmental supports for recreational physical activity. Measurements of green space access have provided mixed results as to the influence of green space access on physical activity.

Methods:

This cross-sectional study uses a geographical information system (GIS) to examine the relationships between the amount of and distance to green space and county-level (n = 67) moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in the state of Florida.

Results:

The gross amount of green space in a county (P < .05) and the amount of green space within defined distances of where people live (1/4 mile, P < .01; 1/2 mile, P < .05; 1 mile, P < .01) were positively associated with self-reported levels of MVPA. Distance to the nearest green space and the amount of green space furthest from where people live (10 miles) were not significantly associated with MVPA. All measures were weighted by the population living in census tracts.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that there is an association between the accessibility created by having more green space closer to home and MVPA, but this holds only for areas up to and including 1 mile from home.

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Mette Toftager, Ola Ekholm, Jasper Schipperijn, Ulrika Stigsdotter, Peter Bentsen, Morten Grønbæk, Thomas B. Randrup and Finn Kamper-Jørgensen

Background:

This study examines the relationship between distance to green space and the level of physical activity among the population of Denmark. In addition, the relationship between distance to green space and obesity is investigated.

Methods:

Data derived from the Danish National Health Interview Survey 2005, a cross-sectional survey based on a region-stratified random nationally representative sample of 21,832 Danish adults. All data are self-reported.

Results:

Respondents living more than 1 km from green space had lower odds of using green space to exercise and keep in shape compared with persons living closer than 300 m to green space (OR: 0.71; 95% CI: 0.60−0.83). A relationship between moderate/vigorous physical activity during leisure time and distance to green space can also be found. Persons living more than 1 km from green space had higher odds of being obese (BMI ≥ 30) than those living less than 300 m from green space (OR: 1.36; 95% CI: 1.08−1.71).

Conclusions:

Self-reported distance to green space is related to self-reported physical activity and obesity. To exercise and keep in shape is an important reason for visiting green space, and distance to green space is associated with moderate/vigorous physical activity in leisure time.

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Shanley Chong, Roy Byun, Soumya Mazumdar, Adrian Bauman and Bin Jalaludin

Background:

The aim was to investigate the association between distant green space and physical activity modified by local green space.

Methods:

Information about physical activity, demographic and socioeconomic background at the individual level was extracted from the New South Wales Population Health Survey. The proportion of a postcode that was parkland was used as a proxy measure for access to parklands and was calculated for each individual.

Results:

There was a significant relationship between distant green space and engaging in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at least once a week. No significant relationship was found between adequate physical activity and distant green space. No significant relationships were found between adequate physical activity, engaging in MVPA, and local green space. However, if respondents lived in greater local green space (≥25%), there was a significant relationship between engaging in MVPA at least once a week and distance green space of ≥20%.

Conclusion:

This study highlights the important effect of distant green space on physical activity. Our findings also suggest that moderate size of local green space together with moderate size of distant green space are important levers for participation of physical activity.

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Vikram Nichani, Kim Dirks, Bruce Burns, Amy Bird, Susan Morton and Cameron Grant

Background:

Exposure to green space has been associated with increased physical activity. However, it is not clear whether this association is because active people preferentially live in greener areas. Relationships between exposure to green space and physical activity during pregnancy are not well defined. Our objective was to determine whether exposure to green space was associated with physical activity in pregnant women.

Methods:

The current study was completed within the Growing Up in New Zealand cohort study of 6772 pregnant women. The proportion of green space in each census area unit was determined and geocoded to residential address. The association between exposure to green space and physical activity was determined using logistic regression analyses after controlling for confounding variables.

Results:

Exposure to green space was not associated with participation in physical activity during first trimester and the remainder of pregnancy once preference for living in greener neighborhoods was taken into account.

Conclusions:

The lack of association between green space and physical activity found in this study does not necessarily mean that living in green space will not translate into better pregnancy health. Preference for living in greener neighborhoods should be considered when investigating relationships between green space and physical activity.

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Charlie Foster, Melvyn Hillsdon, Andy Jones, Chris Grundy, Paul Wilkinson, Martin White, Bart Sheehan, Nick Wareham and Margaret Thorogood

Background:

Physical activity has been positively associated with a range of objectively measured environmental variables. We explored the relationship of walking and other categories of physical activity with objectively measured activity specific environmental variables in a UK population.

Methods:

We used a geographical information system (GIS) and gender specific multivariate models to relate 13,927 participants’ reported levels of physical activity with a range of measures of the environment.

Results:

Access to green space and area levels of crime were not associated with walking for recreation. Distance to facilities had either no or only a small effect on the uptake of different activities. Odds ratios of cycling for leisure dropped as local traffic density increased for both genders. Compared with the lowest quartile for traffic density the likelihood of reporting any cycling for leisure was OR 0.42, (95% CI 0.32 to 0.52, P < .001) for women and OR 0.41, (95% CI 0.33 to 0.50, P < .001) for men in the highest quartile.

Conclusions:

We were unable to reproduce results observed in previous studies. Future research should use large representative population samples from multiple areas to maximize environmental variability and if feasible use both objective and subjective measures of physical activity and the environment.

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Jun-Hyun Kim, Chanam Lee, Norma E. Olvera and Christopher D. Ellis

Background:

Childhood obesity and its comorbidities have become major public health challenges in the US. While previous studies have investigated the roles of land uses and transportation infrastructure on obesity, limited research has examined the influence of landscape spatial patterns. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between landscape spatial patterns and obesity in Hispanic children.

Methods:

Participants included 61 fourth- and fifth-grade Hispanic children from inner-city neighborhoods in Houston, TX. BMI z-scores were computed based on objectively-measured height and weight from each child. Parental and child surveys provided sociodemographic and physical activity data. Landscape indices were used to measure the quality of landscape spatial patterns surrounding each child’s home by utilizing Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing analyses using aerial photo images.

Results:

After controlling for sociodemographic factors, in the half-mile airline buffer, more tree patches and well-connected landscape patterns were negatively correlated with their BMI z-scores. Furthermore, larger sizes of urban forests and tree patches were negatively associated with children’s BMI z-scores in the half-mile network buffer assessment.

Conclusions:

This study suggests that urban greenery requires further attention in studies aimed at identifying environmental features that reduce childhood obesity.

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Deborah A. Cohen, Bing Han, Jennifer Isacoff, Bianca Shulaker, Stephanie Williamson, Terry Marsh, Thomas L. McKenzie, Megan Weir and Rajiv Bhatia

Background:

Given the concerns about low rates of physical activity among low-income minority youth, many communitybased organizations are investing in the creation or renovation of public parks to encourage youth to become more physically active. To what degree park renovations accomplish this goal is not known.

Methods:

We used the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) to measure park users and their physical activity levels before and after 2 parks were renovated. We compared findings with 4 parks: 2 that were unrenovated parks and 2 that were undergoing renovation. We also surveyed park users and local residents about their use of the parks.

Results:

Compared with parks that had not yet been renovated, the improved parks saw more than a doubling in the number of visitors and a substantial increase in energy expended in the parks. Increased park use was pronounced in adults and children, but was not seen in teens and seniors. Park renovations were associated with a significantly increased perception of park safety.

Conclusions:

Park improvements can have a significant impact on increasing park use and local physical activity.

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Hannah M. Badland, Rosanna Keam, Karen Witten and Robin Kearns

Background:

Public open spaces (POS) are recognized as important to promote physical activity engagement. However, it is unclear how POS attributes, such as activities available, environmental quality, amenities present, and safety, are associated with neighborhood-level walkability and deprivation.

Methods:

Twelve neighborhoods were selected within 1 constituent city of Auckland, New Zealand based on higher (n = 6) or lower (n = 6) walkability characteristics. Neighborhoods were dichotomized as more (n = 7) or less (n = 5) socioeconomically deprived. POS (n = 69) were identified within these neighborhoods and audited using the New Zealand-Public Open Space Tool. Unpaired 1-way analysis of variance tests were applied to compare differences in attributes and overall score of POS by neighborhood walkability and deprivation.

Results:

POS located in more walkable neighborhoods have significantly higher overall scores when compared with less walkable neighborhoods. Deprivation comparisons identified POS located in less deprived communities have better quality environments, but fewer activities and safety features present when compared with more deprived neighborhoods.

Conclusions:

A positive relationship existed between presence of POS attributes and neighborhood walkability, but the relationship between POS and neighborhood-level deprivation was less clear. Variation in neighborhood POS quality alone is unlikely to explain poorer health outcomes for residents in more deprived areas.

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Mark Ward, Sarah Gibney, David O’Callaghan and Sinead Shannon

et al., 2015 ), which may reinforce internalized negative feelings toward exercise and physical activity, and create more barriers for people as they age. In terms of the local environment, walkability, and the proximity and density of accessible green spaces and amenities have been found to

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Diana Marina Camargo, Paula Camila Ramírez, Vanesa Quiroga, Paola Ríos, Rogério César Férmino and Olga L. Sarmiento

conserve public open spaces and the creation of new green infrastructure at a larger scale, beyond neighborhoods, may be useful and positively affect public health. Hence, public parks must be a priority when a decision is made to invest in the conservation of lands and green spaces. 6 Most publications