Factors that influence physical activity and park use in predominantly Hispanic and low income neighborhoods in San Antonio, Texas

Date
2013
Authors
Dolash, Karry
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Abstract

Parks can be used for physical activity especially among vulnerable populations, such as low socio-economic and minority groups. However, motivators for park use are not completely understood. The purpose of this study was to assess factors associated with park use and physical activity in parks on the Westside of San Antonio. Data were collected across six parks and included six park environmental assessments to collect data on park features; 36 physical activity observations to collect data on park users' activities; and 51 park user interviews to assess motivators for park use. Quantitative data analysis included descriptive statistics and ANOVA. To compare average energy expenditures between renovated and non-renovated parks, an ANOVA was conducted. To compare average energy expenditure between different play spaces an ANOVA was conducted to assess energy expenditure by park play spaces. Thematic analysis of the park user interviews was conducted collectively and also by parks. Renovated parks had higher levels of kcal expenditure among park users (M=.086±.027) than non-renovated parks (M=.077±.028) (t=-3.804; p<.01). Basketball courts had a significantly higher number of vigorously active park users (M=1.84 ± .08) than tennis courts (M=.15 ± .01) (F= 21.9, η2 =6.1%, p<.01). Thematic analysis found four emerging themes - motivation to be physically active, using the play spaces in the park, parks as the main place for physical activity, and social support for using parks. Renovations, specifically those that target popular activities, can impact physical activity among low SES populations

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Keywords
minority health, park use, physical activity
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Department
Health and Kinesiology