Park use preferences and physical activity among ethnic minority children in low-income neighborhoods in New York City

Oriol Marquet*, J. Aaron Hipp, Claudia Alberico, Jing Huei Huang, Dustin Fry, Elizabeth Mazak, Gina S. Lovasi, Myron F. Floyd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Urban parks offer a broad range of opportunities for children's recreation and physical activity. Park use patterns however are not equal in terms of race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. In order to design policies to improve park design and to provide healthy park experiences among children of communities of color, insight on park use patterns is needed. This research examines the association between park characteristics and park use among children 5–10 years old from Asian, Latino and African American backgrounds. Using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), systematic observations were conducted in 20 New York City parks in 2017, located in low-income areas with high presence of Latino or Asian residents. 16,577 children from 5 to 10 years old were observed. Playgrounds and swings were common use areas across ethnicities, both in terms of number of children and their physical activity. Other activity settings such as basketball courts, handball and baseball fields showed distinct patterns of use among the different ethnicities. Significant associations between park use, physical activity levels and the characteristics of the park area, with distinct patterns by race/ethnicity. Findings underline the importance of considering different design and features when trying to appeal to different populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-353
Number of pages8
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Volume38
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

Keywords

  • Low income
  • Park use
  • Physical activity
  • Race-ethnicity
  • SOPARC

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