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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Dietary Guidelines Adherence and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance Title: A microenvironment approach to reducing sedentary time and increasing physical activity of children and adults at a playground

Authors
item Roemmich, James
item Beeler, Joley
item Johnson, Luann -

Submitted to: Preventive Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 15, 2014
Publication Date: May 1, 2014
Citation: Roemmich, J.N., Beeler, J.E., Johnson, L. 2014. A microenvironment approach to reducing sedentary time and increasing physical activity of children and adults at a playground. Preventive Medicine. 61:108-112.

Interpretive Summary: We tested whether a movement of seating away from a playground would increase the physical activity and length of stay of adults and children. Two studies were completed across successive summers. During summer 2012 physical activity of children and adults was assessed during baseline (A1) with seating in usual, standardized locations; with seating removed from the playground (B); and with seating returned to original locations (A2). During summer 2013: the study was repeated with the inclusion of a daily 2-hour assessment during which activity of each family member was recorded every 15-min and the duration of time that each family stayed at the playground recorded. We found that in both studies, the intensity of physical activity was greater when the park bench seating was removed. Adults were more likely to be observed in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity such as walking than sitting when the park benches were removed. The activity intensities of children and adults were also greater during the 2-hour observations of families when seating was not accessible. The duration that families stayed at the park did not change when seating was removed. In conclusion, we found that adults were more active when seating was not accessible. Removal of seating did not shorten the time that adults were willing to allow children to play.

Technical Abstract: Objective. Test whether a micro-environment park intervention in Grand Forks, ND, movement of seating away from a playground, would increase the physical activity and length of stay of park users. Method. STUDY 1, summer 2012: physical activity of children and adults was assessed during baseline (A1) with seating in usual, standardized locations; with seating removed from the playground (B); and with seating returned to original locations (A2). STUDY 2, summer 2013: the study was repeated with the inclusion of a daily 2-hour assessment during which activity of each family member was recorded every 15-min and length of stay recorded. Results. For both studies, the MET intensity was greater (p<0.02) during condition B than A1 and A2. For adults, the odds of being in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity than sitting during condition B were 4.1 to 22.7 greater than conditions A1 or A2. During the 2-hour serial observations, MET intensities during condition B were greater (p<0.005) than A1 and A2. The duration families stayed at the park did not differ across conditions. Conclusion. Adults were more active when seating was not accessible. Removal of seating did not shorten the time that adults were willing to allow children to play.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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