252277 Examining differences in adult energy expenditure across park activity areas by gender and race/ethnicity

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:10 PM

Katherine Vaughan, MPH Candidate , Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Andrew Kaczynski, PhD , Department of Kinesiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Sonja Wilhelm Stanis, PhD , Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO
Purpose: Recent evidence suggests that a park's features may be as important as its proximity for promoting physical activity (PA), but few studies have examined the PA intensity that occurs in specific areas of parks. This study explored differences in energy expenditure (EE) among adults across park settings by gender and race/ethnicity.

Methods: Four parks in Kansas City were each divided into 14-28 target areas. The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) was used to record the PA of park users by gender, age, race/ethnicity, and intensity level (sed/mod/vig). Each park was observed for 39 hours (Fri-Sun, 7am-8pm). Following Floyd et al. (2008), we calculated the average EE (kcal/kg/min) per observed adult user in each target area scan. ANCOVA was used to compare this across the five most-used target areas within multiple gender and race/ethnicity groups.

Results: 6394 adult users were observed across all parks, with the top five areas being trails (n=2770), open spaces (n=1412), playgrounds (n=531), picnic shelters (n=464), and tennis courts (n=336). Within the full sample of adults, scans of users showed a higher mean EE on paved trails (.092) and tennis courts (.089) than in open spaces (.070), playgrounds (.062), or picnic shelters (.059). The same trends were found for all sub-samples examined (female, male, White, Black, Hispanic).

Conclusions: Better understanding differences in EE across areas can aid park design efforts aimed at increasing visitor activity levels. Future research should explore differences between gender, race, and age groups within park areas.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Compare the effectiveness of park features in promoting physical activity level and energy expenditure. Discuss how parks can be better designed to promote physical activity.

Keywords: Environment, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present this information because my research involves parks and phyiscal activity, and I am part of the research team who collected and analyzed the data for this presentation.
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.

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