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IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1760: Youth and Adult Visitation and Physical Activity Intensity at Rural and Urban Parks

16 Aug 2018

IJERPH, Vol. 15, Pages 1760: Youth and Adult Visitation and Physical Activity Intensity at Rural and Urban Parks

International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health doi: 10.3390/ijerph15081760

Authors:
James N. Roemmich
LuAnn Johnson
Grace Oberg
Joley E. Beeler
Kelsey E. Ufholz

Less physical activity among rural residents may contribute to rural-urban health disparities. Parks can be ideal community resources for promoting physical activity. This study compared park visitation and activity intensity at 15 urban and 15 rural parks matched for acreage and amenities. Parks were observed in the morning, afternoon, and evening on 4 days to determine number of visitors, activity intensity, and amenity use. A total of 5486 visitors were observed with no differences in percentages of males (55.5% vs. 53.9%) and females (44.5% vs. 46.1%) or percentages of weekday (82.4% vs. 81.9%) and weekend (17.6% vs. 18.1%) visitors. The probability of visitors sitting was greater and in moderate intensity activity lower at rural parks. A greater proportion of children (25.0% vs. 14.5%) in rural parks, and teens in urban parks (8.0% vs. 69.6%), were observed on sport fields. A greater proportion of adults in urban areas (12.5% vs. 46.0%) were observed spectating sports. Greater proportions of rural children (10.9% vs. 3.5%), teens (34.1% vs. 12.4%), and adults (38.9% vs. 10.1%) were observed using shelters. Thus, when similar amenities are available, rural and urban parks are used differently, especially by youth. The urban park study results cannot be wholly applied to rural parks.

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