The Ciclovía-Recreativa: A Mass-Recreational Program With Public Health Potential

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

The Ciclovía-Recreativa is a free, community-based program in which streets are closed temporarily to motorized transport, allowing access to walkers, runners, rollerbladers, and cyclists only. We assessed existing information about the Ciclovía as a public health strategy and proposed next steps for research and public health practice.

Methods:

We conducted a systematic search of peer-reviewed and other literature, which was complemented by expert interviews and consultation.

Results:

We reviewed 38 Ciclovías from 11 countries. Most programs (84.2%) take place in urban settings. The programs range from 18−64 events per year (54 ± 24.6; 52 [mean ± standard deviation; median]) with events lasting from 2−12 hours (6 ± 2.4; 6). The length of the streets ranges from 1−121 km (14.6 ± 22.1; 7), and the estimated number of participants per event ranges from 60-1,000,000 persons (61,203 ± 186,668; 3810). Seventy-one percent of the programs include physical activity classes and in 89% of the Ciclovías, the streets are connected with parks.

Conclusions:

Ciclovías have potential for positive public health outcomes, but evidence on their effectiveness is limited. The different stages of new and established programs offer a unique opportunity for transnational studies aimed at assessing their public health impact.

Sarmiento is with the Dept of Social Medicine, Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Torres and Schmid are with the Physical Activity and Health Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Jacoby is with the Dept of Healthy Eating and Active Living, Non-communicable Disease Unit, Pan American/World Health Organization, Washington, D.C. Pratt is with the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Stierling is with CicloRecreoVía, Club Deportivo, Providencia, Chile.