142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Park proximity and multiple health outcomes: Findings from the United States and Australia

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014 : 3:30 PM - 3:50 PM

Gina Besenyi, MPH , Department of Health Promotion Education and Behavior, University of South Carolina, Arnold School of Public Health, Columbia, SC
Andrew T. Kaczynski, Ph.D. , Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Jenny Veitch, PhD , School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
Gavin Abbott, PhD , School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
Sonja Wilhelm Stanis, PhD , Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, MO
Ryan Bergstrom, PhD , Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, MN
Introduction: Parks are important environmental resources for physical activity (PA) and health. However, little research has included multiple measures of park proximity or diverse outcome variables within the same study. Moreover, cross-cultural studies are rare to date.  This abstract describes findings from two countries about the relationship between park proximity and PA, sedentary behavior, and weight status among adults.

Methods: Data were collected in Kansas City, Missouri (n=891) and Melbourne, Australia (females only, n=1830). For both locations, ArcGIS10 was used to calculate three measures of proximity (distance to the closest park, number of parks, and total park area) within a 1-mile network distance of residence and participants were categorized as low, medium, or high. Health data were collected via mail surveys and participants were classified by level of PA (meets vs. does not meet recommendations), sedentary behavior (0-2 hours vs. >2 hours/day), and weight status (healthy vs. overweight/obese). Multilevel logistic regression analyses explored associations between each park proximity measure and health outcome controlling for demographic characteristics.

Results: In the U.S., a high amount of park area was associated with lower odds of high sedentary behavior among females (OR=0.42,CI=0.20-0.88). In Australian women, low distance to a park was associated with greater odds of meeting PA recommendations (OR=1.39,CI=1.06-1.82) and having a high number of parks was related to lower odds of being overweight/obese (OR=0.72,CI=0.57-0.92).

Conclusion/Discussion: These findings across diverse contexts worldwide lend increased credibility to policy and environmental actions to increase access to parks to promote PA and community health.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the importance of parks environments for physical activity and health. Identify multiple methods of measuring park proximity using geographic information systems. Discuss differences of the effects of park environments on physical activity, sedentary behavior, and weight status across two countries.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. My research focuses on how built environment attributes and community design promote healthy eating and active living, especially among youth. I have been a project manager on several research studies and co-authored numerous manuscripts, abstracts, and grants. Additionally, I have instructed physical activity and public health-related courses at the collegiate level.
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.