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ARS Home » Plains Area » Grand Forks, North Dakota » Grand Forks Human Nutrition Research Center » Healthy Body Weight Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #311960

Research Project: Dietary Guidelines Adherence and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: Visitation and physical activity intensity at rural and urban parks

item Roemmich, James
item JOHNSON, LUANN - University Of North Dakota

Submitted to: Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/15/2015
Publication Date: 3/28/2015
Citation: Roemmich, J.N., Johnson, L.K. 2015. Visitation and physical activity intensity at rural and urban parks [abstract]. Journal of Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology. 29:902.24.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Less physical activity among rural residents may contribute to rural–urban health disparities. This study compared park visitation and activity intensity at 15 urban and 15 rural parks matched for acreage and amenities. Each park was observed (System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities) in the morning, afternoon, and evening on 3 weekdays and 1 weekend day to determine the number of child, teen and adult visitors, their activity intensity (sitting, standing, moderate, or vigorous), and amenity use. A total of 5486 visitors were observed with no differences (p>0.77) in the percentages of males (55.5% vs 53.9%) and females (44.5% vs 46.1%) observed in rural and urban parks. Neither the percentages of weekday (82.4% vs 81.9%) nor weekend (17.6% vs 18.1%) visitors differed (p>0.96) between rural and urban parks. The probability of visitors being observed sitting was greater (p<0.02) and the probability to be observed in moderate intensity activity was lower (p<0.003) at rural parks than at urban parks. The probability of children (0-5 yr) being observed was lower (p<0.001) at a rural park. A greater (p<0.001) proportion of children (25.0% vs 14.5%) in rural parks, but of teens in urban parks (8.0% vs 69.6%) were observed on sport fields. A greater (p<0.001) proportion of adults in urban areas (12.5% vs 46.0%) were observed spectating sports. Greater (p<0.001) 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. There were no differences in the proportions of rural and urban visitors observed using sport courts. When there are similar numbers and types of amenities available, rural and urban parks are used differently likely due to differences in park programming (e.g., sports). Results from studies of urban parks cannot be wholly applied to the needs of parks in rural communities. Support: USDA-ARS 3062-51000-051-00D.