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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 #341693

Research Project: Dietary Guidelines Adherence and Healthy Body Weight Maintenance

Location: Healthy Body Weight Research

Title: Weekend wanderings: Exploring the role of neighborhood design on leisure physical activity of urban youth

item FEERO, ELIZA - Brown University
item BAEK, SOLHYON - Consultant
item Roemmich, James
item EPSTEIN, LEONARD - University Of Buffalo
item RAJA, SAMINA - University Of Buffalo

Submitted to: Journal of Architecture and Planning
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/18/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Sedentary behavior and childhood obesity is a growing concern for parents and health care professionals. The roles of the built environment on children’s active commuting trips (those by walking, bicycling, etc.) and leisure physically activity is understudied. This study recruited 97 non-obese urban youth participants who agreed to record their weekend physical activities through the use of an accelerometer, a Global Positioning System (GPS) tracker and travel diaries. Built-environment attributes such as homes per acre within the designated study area were used to explore the choice of non-motorized active modes of transportation for unorganized leisure-purpose trips. Personal characteristics including age, gender and race were found to be related to the use of active modes of transportation. The results of the study show that youth use active modes of transportation for nearly one-quarter of all unorganized leisure-purpose trips. Active commuting during the weekends can be an effective way to increase youth physical activities.

Technical Abstract: Driven largely by concerns over children’s sedentary behavior and high obesity rates, a growing body of literature focuses on the role of the built environment in children’s active commuting trips. Nonetheless, leisure physical activity among youth has been understudied. This paper explores the links between physically active (non-motorized) leisure travel by non-obese urban youth and the built environment in their neighborhoods. The sample comprises 97 non-obese youth living within a one-mile radius of Delaware Park in Buffalo, New York. Data on active travel were collected using accelerometers and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices and were analyzed using ArcGIS. The results suggest that youth use active modes of transportation for nearly one-quarter of all unorganized leisure-purpose trips. Regression results show that neighborhood design and household characteristics influence the number of active leisure trips made by youth during the weekends. Specifically, the trips are associated with the number of housing units per residential acre and the number of parks within a half-mile radius mile of the youths’ homes, and are marginally associated with the education level of the youths’ mothers.