Urban parks provide spaces and facilities for children's physical activity (PA) and can be a free resource in low-income communities. This study examined whether neighborhood characteristics were associated with children's park use and park-based moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) in low-income diverse communities and how associations differed between ethnic groups. Data on park visits and MVPA came from 16,402 children 5–10-years old directly observed using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities in 20 parks in low-income neighborhoods with majority Latino or Asian populations in New York City. Neighborhood characteristics included land use mix (LUM), street audits, crime rates, and an area deprivation index. We employed Poisson and negative binomial models to estimate effects of neighborhood-level variables on the number of children observed in parks and engaging in MVPA, overall and by ethnicity. Results for Asian, Latino, and African American children indicated that higher levels of LUM and pedestrian-friendly streets were associated with greater numbers of children in parks and higher MVPA across all three groups. For Asian and Latino children only, quality of environment was positively associated with MVPA, whereas level of deprivation and crime rates in the surrounding neighborhood were negatively associated with children's park-based MVPA. In contrast, a park's access to public transportation was negatively associated with number of all children observed and engaging in MVPA. Study findings suggest that park-based MVPA interventions can be informed by understanding how neighborhood characteristics facilitate and constrain park use and park-based MVPA.
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2020|
- Built environment
- Health disparities
- Social equity
- Urban green space