200426 If They Build It, Will They Come? An Evaluation of the Effects of the Redevelopment of Inner-City School Grounds on the Physical Activity of Children

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lois Brink, MLA , College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Denver, CO
Claudio Nigg, PhD , Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI
Sarah Lampe, MPH , College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Denver, CO
Andrew Mootz, MS , College of Architecture and Planning, University of Colorado, Denver, CO
Background: Few elementary schools provide daily PE or its equivalent for the entire school year for all students. While it is important to increase the amount of school time devoted to physical activity, non-curriculum approaches also help increase physical activity. Purpose: The specific aims of this research are to examine whether playground redevelopment leads to an increase in children's physical activity levels and what aspects of playground design most impact children's physical activity. Significance: Research that studies the effect of playgrounds on children's physical activity is sparse and there is little current research that breaks down playground components to understand which components encourage physical activity. Methodology: Using a quasi-experimental design, 3 schools with a renovated playground for at least two years were matched with 3 schools with a playground built within the last year and 3 control schools. Each playground was divided into activity areas to identify the playground variables with the greatest impact on children's physical activity. Measures of children's physical activity were obtained during school and after-school hours using SOPLAY. Results: Schools with renovated playgrounds had a significantly higher volume of children using the playgrounds as well as significantly more students who were either “walking” or “very active” then control schools. Also, certain play surfaces significantly increased the number of children who were active without a gender bias. Conclusions: The renovation of school playgrounds can affect the number of children who are active, and if planned carefully can reduce sedentary behavior and increase physical activity for all students.

Learning Objectives:
Compare renovated school playgrounds to control playgrounds Demonstrate that renovated school playgrounds increases the volume of children using the playground Analyze which playground components and equipment increases physical activity in children

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I planned and organized the writing of the proposed research abstract and currently present research findings and program evaulations for the organization I will be representing.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.