206334 Racial/ethnic differences in the use and value attached to neighborhood parks for promoting physical activity among children

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:30 PM

Sandra E. Echeverria, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry-School of Public Health, Piscataway, NJ
Hanaa Hamdi, MA , Urban Systems Program, University of Med & Den of NJ (UMDNJ), Newark, NJ
Sabrina Chase, PhD , Department of Family Medicine, UMDNJ-RWJ Medical School, Somerset, NJ
There is growing evidence to suggest that open spaces such as parks are associated with increased levels of physical activity among children. However, few studies have explored whether this association differs across diverse racial, ethnic and cultural groups. It is not known if immigrants, non-immigrants, and those living in poor urban settings have unique values and experiences associated with the use of open spaces. Our team conducted a series of in-depth interviews and focus groups with individuals of African and Latin American descent who were either US-born or foreign-born and living in a large urban center in New Jersey. Our research design was based on an iterative, cyclical process which included multiple waves of investigation. At each stage of the research process, we retooled our interview schedule based on what was learned from the previous group of interview respondents. In the end, we conducted a total of 20 in-depth interviews and 4 focus groups. Our study revealed important racial/ethnic differences related to issues of park access and use, neighborhood safety, and the cultural values attached to open spaces. Our work underscores the importance of qualitative methods for revealing the complex and culture-specific dynamics associated with the role of neighborhood parks in promoting physical activity in children.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the importance of neighborhood parks for promoting health. 2. Describe the iterative and cyclical nature of qualitative methods. 3. Discuss potential differences by race/ethnicity in the use of and value attached to parks.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Children's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in epidemiology and am conducting stduies examining the role of the built environment in promoting health.
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.