204008 Access to Parks and Recreational Programs in CCROPP Target Communities: Maximizing Opportunities to Encourage Physical Activity

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:30 AM

Genoveva Islas-Hooker, MPH , Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, Fresno, CA
Mariana Ramirez , Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, Fresno, CA
Purpose: Parks and recreational programs are the baseline to physical activity opportunities however in many impoverished urban and rural neighborhoods, parks are limited and recreational program are nonexistent. This investigation of target communities in the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP), assess five points of access to parks and recreational programming; availability, accessibility, affordability, accommodation and acceptability.

Methods: Telephone interviews were conducted with Park and Recreation Directors and staff in local city and county offices within CCROPP target communities. In addition, rapid appraisal of parks were conducted to assess access issues. Finally GIS mapping of parks were conducted and calculations of park space to population were analyzed.

Findings: It is evident that rural unincorporated communities have less access to park space and recreational programs. Unincorporated communities have limited park space and no recreation services. Poor urban neighborhoods have limited access to parks. Many parks have very limited use. Safety concerns plays a huge barrier in utilizing parks. There are unmet cultural and language needs in the promotion of recreational programs. The cost of recreation services is prohibitive for poor families with multiple children.

Conclusion: Parks and recreational programming are being under utilized due to issues related to various components of access. These issues contribute to inactivity in low income communities and the epidemic of obesity.

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess access to park and recreational opportunities. 2. Describe the inequity of park space and recreational programming in poor communities and discuss policies to ameliorate this disparity. 3. Explore policy interventions to encourage the utilization of park and optimize recreational programs for physical activity.

Keywords: Obesity, Rural Communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Program Coordinator of the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program.
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.