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Places to play: association of park space and facilities with healthy weight status among children.

Key Message

Children with a park playground within 1 km were almost five times more likely to be classified as being of a healthy weight rather then at risk or overweight compared to those children without playgrounds in nearby parks.

Source

Potwarka LR, Kaczynski AT, Flack AL. (2008). Places to play: association of park space and facilities with healthy weight status among children. Journal of Community Health. 33(5):344-50.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to examine how healthy weight status among youth was related to (i) three proximity-based park variables: number of parks within 1 km of home, total area of parkland within 1 km, and distance to the closest park from home, and (ii) the availability of 13 specific park facilities within 1 km of the home. Data were collected from parents of children living in four neighborhoods of a medium-sized Canadian city.

Evidence

Logistic regression analyses revealed that none of the three proximity-based park variables was significantly associated with healthy weight status among children in the sample. However, when availability of the 13 park facilities was examined, children with a park playground within 1 km were almost five times more likely to be classified as being of a healthy weight rather then at risk or overweight compared to those children without playgrounds in nearby parks. Results suggest that availability of certain park facilities may play a more important role in promoting physical activity and healthy weight status among children than availability of park space in general.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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