Research Study Abstract

Perceived neighborhood recreation environments and physical activity in adolescents

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: To examine relationships between parent perceived neighborhood recreational environment and physical activity (PA) in adolescents. Perceived diversity and proximity of recreation facilities is a core component of activity friendly neighborhood environments which may contribute to youth PA.

Methods: Participants (N=928, mean age 14.1± 1.4 years old, with 50.4% girls, 33.4 non-white/Hispanic) were recruited from the Seattle, WA and Baltimore/Washington DC regions. Moderate-vigorous PA (MVPA) was assessed via 7-day accelerometry. Self-reported PA near home and other recreational locations was assessed. Proximity to home of recreational facilities (8 types in the Neighborhood Environment Walkablity Scale for Youth, NEWS-Y) was reported by parents. Mixed model linear regressions adjusted for demographics and neighborhood clustering of participants.

Conclusions: Having more recreation facilities close to home was related to higher self-reported number of days/week getting 60+ min of PA (t = 1.98, p < 0.05), PA near home (t = 3.72, p < 0.001), PA at recreational places (t = 4.85, p < 0.001), and MVPA (t = 2.21 p < 0.05). Adolescents living in the lowest quintile of recreation-facility diversity averaged 18.4 ± 4.8 min/day of MVPA versus 46.5 ± 4.6 min/day of MVPA for those living in the highest quintile.

Results: Adolescents living in neighborhoods perceived by parents to have greater diversity of recreation facilities had higher activity levels across several indicators of PA.