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New Report Examines Links Between Parks and Health

Parks nationwide already provide space and opportunity for children and adults to be physically active, but a new review by Active Living Research identifies many ways to further leverage the capacity of America’s parks to help more people achieve recommended physical activity levels.

Parks, Playgrounds and Active Living summarizes the growing body of evidence on how park proximity, size and features impact physical activity, especially among populations who are at high risk for being inactive and/or obese.

According to the review by Active Living Research grantee Andrew Mowen:

Increased park proximity is associated with higher levels of park use and physical activity among a variety of populations, particularly youths.

Having more parks and more park area (e.g., acreage) within a community is associated with higher physical activity levels.

Lower-income populations and some racial and ethnic populations have limited access to parks and recreational facilities. These disparities partially explain lower physical activity levels among these populations.

Within parks, people tend to be more physically active on trails, at playgrounds and at sports facilities.

Organized park programs and supervision may increase use of parks and playgrounds and may increase physical activity, particularly among youths.

Park renovations can increase vigorous physical activity among children and increase use of certain types of facilities, including playgrounds and skate parks.

Mowen concludes that the capacity of parks to increase physical activity levels and promote overall health among American children and adults is not fully realized and identifies…
Read the report.

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