259642 Increasing Access to Physical Activity Options in Health Disparity Areas in San Antonio Parks

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM

Mary Thomas, MPH , Communities Putting Prevention to Work, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, San Antonio, TX
Jeremy Beer, MPH , Communities Putting Prevention to Work, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, San Antonio, TX
Maggie Thompson, MS , Health Program Manager, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, San Antonio Metropolitan Health District, San Antonio, TX
INTRODUCTION: San Antonio Metropolitan Health District is addressing the obesity epidemic by built environmental changes to increase physical activity options in parks. METHOD: A Park User Survey was conducted in 14 parks, 8 in disparity areas with newly installed fitness stations. The survey aimed assessing parks use for PA, facilities, barriers and benefits of fitness stations. Additionally, “High Efficiency Trail Assessment Process” (HETAP) was conducted to assess trails' characteristics.

RESULTS:56% out of 504 respondents visit parks to exercise and 22% for relaxation. Most respondents were 26-45 years old, 63% visited the parks 3-7 times/week and 87% spent 30 minutes or longer at the park. 40% lived within 3 miles from parks, 88% used car, 2% bikes and 10% walked for transportation. 73% exercised over 30 minutes/day, 60% exercised 4-7 days/week 36% engaged in vigorous PA, 54% used walking and 17% biking trails. 54% increased time spent at the park after the fitness station installation; 80% found stations easy to use. Water fountains (53%), safety (17%) and stray dogs (14%) were the most common barriers to visiting parks. HETAP assessed 101 miles of trails in 30 parks. Trail characteristics (name, length, width, elevation change, running slope, cross slope and surface type) are displayed on signage in parks. DISCUSSION:The findings show that residents use park facilities for PA and relaxation, PA levels increased with access to fitness stations HETAP information is attractive and helps park users of all abilities to understand and gauge the trail's difficulty and features

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Environmental health sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the park facilities and changes in built environment which increase physical activity options in San Antonio parks. 2. Discuss the benefits to residents in providing access to fitness stations in health disparity areas. 3. Discuss the barriers in using the park facilities and fitness stations

Keywords: Environment, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I prepared the abstract using the information from Park User Survey conducted by St Mary's University in San Antonio and report from Park and Rec department in San Antonio
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.