Walking Trail Use among a Sample of Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian Adult Walkers

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health

Background:

Walking trails are positively associated with physical activity; however, few studies have been conducted among diverse communities. We sought to describe trail use and the physical and social environmental correlates of trail use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample.

Methods:

We administered an on-site trail intercept survey to walkers on a trail (N = 175). We assessed frequency/duration of trail use, reasons for using the trail, perceptions of the trail, demographics and BMI.

Results:

Walkers were primarily young (mean age = 37.8 years, SD = 11.8) and overweight (mean BMI = 25.2 kg/m2, SD = 4.2). Time spent on the trail and frequency of trail use differed significantly by age (P = .004) but not race/ethnicity. Perceptions of the trail differed significantly by sex and race/ethnicity (P-values = .001, .014, respectively). In regression models, different factors predicted time spent on the trail and frequency of trail use.

Conclusions:

Walkers were frequent users of the trail and cited many favorable features of the trail that encouraged their use. Duration and frequency of trail use did not differ by race/ethnicity or sex, thereby indicating that when provided with safe access, racial/ethnic minorities and women may be likely to use trails at rates similar to those of Whites and men.

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McNeill (lmcneill@mdanderson.org) and Murguia are with the Dept of Health Disparities Research, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Nguyen is with the Dept of Biostatistics, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX. Taylor is with the Dept of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX.