How active are people in metropolitan parks? An observational study of park visitation in Australia

Journal article


Veitch, Jenny, Carver, Alison, Abbott, Gavin, Giles-Corti, Billie, Timperio, Anna and Salmon, Jo 2015. How active are people in metropolitan parks? An observational study of park visitation in Australia. BMC Public Health. 15 (610), pp. 1 - 8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1960-6
AuthorsVeitch, Jenny, Carver, Alison, Abbott, Gavin, Giles-Corti, Billie, Timperio, Anna and Salmon, Jo
Abstract

Background Parks are generally an under-utilized resource in the community with great potential to enhance levels of physical activity. If parks are to attract more visitors across a broad cross-section of the population and facilitate increased physical activity, research is needed to better understand park visitor characteristics and how visitors spend their time in parks. The Recording and EValuating Activity in a Modified Park (REVAMP) study is a natural experiment monitoring a park upgrade in a low socioeconomic status (SES) neighborhood. This study described the observed baseline characteristics of park visitors (age, sex) and characteristics of visitation (weekday or weekend day, period of the day) and explored how these characteristics were associated with observed park-based physical activity in two metropolitan parks located Melbourne, Australia. Methods Direct observations of park visitors were conducted using a modified version of SOPARC (the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities) on four weekdays and four weekend days. During weekdays, observations were conducted every hour from 7:30 am-4:30 pm and on weekend days from 8:30 am-4:30 pm. This equated to a total of 1460 scans across the two parks. Chi-square tests examined bivariate associations between park-based physical activity, and socio-demographic and park visitation characteristics. Logistic regression models examined the odds of being observed engaging in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity relative to lying/sitting/standing according to socio-demographic and park visitation characteristics. Results In total, 4756 park visitors were observed with the majority visiting on weekend days (87 %) and in the afternoon (41 %). Most visitors (62 %) were lying, sitting or standing, with only 29 % observed engaging in moderate-intensity and 9 % in vigorous-intensity physical activity. Park use differed by time of day, sex, age group, and neighborhood SES. Physical activity was lower for women than men (OR 0.76) and higher among visitors in the high SES area (OR 1.52). Conclusions Parks offer substantial opportunities for people of all ages to engage in physical activity, however, this study showed that a large proportion of the park visitors observed were engaged in sedentary pursuits. Further research on how park design, amenities and programming can optimize park visitation and park-based physical activity is needed.

Keywordsobservation; park; physical activity; public open space; park visitor
Year2015
JournalBMC Public Health
Journal citation15 (610), pp. 1 - 8
PublisherBiomed Central Ltd
ISSN1471-2458
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1960-6
Scopus EID2-s2.0-84936165070
Open accessOpen access
Page range1 - 8
Research GroupInstitute for Health and Ageing
Publisher's version
License
Place of publicationUnited Kingdom
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Safety in numbers: Does perceived safety mediate associations between the neighborhood social environment and physical activity among women living in disadvantaged neighborhoods?
Timperio, Anna, Veitch, Jenny and Carver, Alison 2015. Safety in numbers: Does perceived safety mediate associations between the neighborhood social environment and physical activity among women living in disadvantaged neighborhoods? Preventive Medicine. 74, pp. 49 - 54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.02.012
Safety in numbers: Does perceived safety mediate associations between the neighborhood social environment and physical activity among women living in disadvantaged neighborhoods?
Timperio, Anna, Veitch, Jenny and Carver, Alison 2015. Safety in numbers: Does perceived safety mediate associations between the neighborhood social environment and physical activity among women living in disadvantaged neighborhoods? Preventive Medicine. 74, pp. 49 - 54. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.02.012
How active are people in metropolitan parks? An observational study of park visitation in Australia
Veitch, Jenny, Carver, Alison, Abbott, Gavin, Giles-Corti, Billie, Timperio, Anna and Salmon, Jo 2015. How active are people in metropolitan parks? An observational study of park visitation in Australia. BMC Public Health. 15 (610), pp. 1 - 8. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-015-1960-6
Bicycles gathering dust rather than raising dust - Prevalence and predictors of cycling among Australian schoolchildren
Carver, Alison, Timperio, Anna F. and Crawford, David A. 2015. Bicycles gathering dust rather than raising dust - Prevalence and predictors of cycling among Australian schoolchildren. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 18 (5), pp. 540 - 544. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2014.07.004
Exploring associations between parental and peer variables, personal variables and physical activity among adolescents: A mediation analysis
Verloigne, Maïté, Veitch, Jenny, Carver, Alison, Salmon, Jo, Cardon, Greet, De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse and Timperio, Anna 2014. Exploring associations between parental and peer variables, personal variables and physical activity among adolescents: A mediation analysis. BMC Public Health. 14 (966), pp. 1 - 11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-966
Exploring socioecological correlates of active living in retirement village residents
Nathan, Andrea Grace, Wood, Lisa and Giles-Corti, Billie 2014. Exploring socioecological correlates of active living in retirement village residents. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity. 22 (1), pp. 1 - 15. https://doi.org/10.1123/JAPA.2012-0189
Cycling for transport and recreation: Associations with socio-economic position, environmental perceptions, and psychological disposition
Heesch, Kristiann C., Giles-Corti, Billie and Turrell, Gavin 2014. Cycling for transport and recreation: Associations with socio-economic position, environmental perceptions, and psychological disposition. Preventive Medicine. 63, pp. 29 - 35. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2014.03.003
Are independent mobility and territorial range associated with park visitation among youth?
Veitch, Jenny, Carver, Alison, Hume, Clare, Crawford, David, Timperio, Anna, Ball, Kylie and Salmon, Jo 2014. Are independent mobility and territorial range associated with park visitation among youth? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 11 (1), pp. 1 - 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-11-73
Urban design and health: Progress to date and future challenges
Lowe, Melanie, Boulange, Claire and Giles-Corti, Billie 2014. Urban design and health: Progress to date and future challenges. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 25 (1), pp. 14 - 18. https://doi.org/10.1071/HE13072
Independent mobility on the journey to school: A joint cross-sectional and prospective exploration of social and physical environmental influences
Carver, Alison, Panter, Jenna R., Jones, Andrew P. and Van Sluijs, Esther 2014. Independent mobility on the journey to school: A joint cross-sectional and prospective exploration of social and physical environmental influences. Journal of Transport and Health. 1 (1), pp. 25 - 32. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jth.2013.12.003
Exploring associations between parental and peer variables, personal variables and physical activity among adolescents: A mediation analysis
Verloigne, Maïté, Veitch, Jenny, Carver, Alison, Salmon, Jo, Cardon, Greet, De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse and Timperio, Anna 2014. Exploring associations between parental and peer variables, personal variables and physical activity among adolescents: A mediation analysis. BMC Public Health. 14 (1), pp. 1 - 11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-966
Patterns of social capital associated with transit oriented development
Kamruzzaman, Md., Wood, Lisa, Hine, Julian, Currie, Graham, Giles-Corti, Billie and Turrell, Gavin 2014. Patterns of social capital associated with transit oriented development. Journal of Transport Geography. 35, pp. 144 - 155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2014.02.003
Examining correlates of self-reported and objectively measured physical activity among retirement village residents
Nathan, Andrea Grace, Wood, Lisa and Giles-Corti, Billie 2014. Examining correlates of self-reported and objectively measured physical activity among retirement village residents. Australasian Journal on Ageing. 33 (4), pp. 250 - 256. https://doi.org/10.1111/ajag.12055
Active transport, independent mobility and territorial range among children residing in disadvantaged areas
Carver, Alison, Veitch, Jenny, Sahlqvist, Shannon, Crawford, David and Hume, Clare 2014. Active transport, independent mobility and territorial range among children residing in disadvantaged areas. Journal of Transport and Health. 1 (4), pp. 267 - 273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jth.2014.01.004
The impact of neighborhood walkability on walking: Does it differ across adult life stage and does neighborhood buffer size matter?
Villanueva, Karen, Knuiman, Matthew, Nathan, Andrea Grace, Giles-Corti, Billie, Christian, Hayley, Foster, Sarah and Bull, Fiona 2014. The impact of neighborhood walkability on walking: Does it differ across adult life stage and does neighborhood buffer size matter? Health and Place. 25, pp. 43 - 46. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.10.005
Reconnecting urban planning with health: A protocol for the development and validation of national liveability indicators associated with noncommunicable disease risk behaviours and health outcomes
Giles-Corti, Billie, Badland, Hannah, Mavoa, Suzanne, Turrell, Gavin, Bull, Fiona C., Boruff, Bryan, Pettit, Chris, Bauman, Adrian, Hooper, Paula, Villanueva, Karen, Astell-Burt, Thomas, Feng, Xiaoqi, Learnihan, Vincent, Davey, Rachel, Grenfell, Robert and Thackway, Sarah 2014. Reconnecting urban planning with health: A protocol for the development and validation of national liveability indicators associated with noncommunicable disease risk behaviours and health outcomes. Public Health Research and Practice. 25 (1), pp. 1 - 5. https://doi.org/10.17061/phrp2511405
A natural experiment to examine the impact of park renewal on park-use and park-based physical activity in a disadvantaged neighbourhood: The REVAMP study methods
Veitch, Jenny, Salmon, Jo, Carver, Alison, Timperio, Anna, Crawford, David, Fletcher, Elly and Giles-Corti, Billie 2014. A natural experiment to examine the impact of park renewal on park-use and park-based physical activity in a disadvantaged neighbourhood: The REVAMP study methods. BMC Public Health. 14 (600), pp. 1 - 9. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-600
Perceptions of the built environment and associations with walking among retirement village residents
Nathan, Andrea Grace, Wood, Lisa and Giles-Corti, Billie 2014. Perceptions of the built environment and associations with walking among retirement village residents. Environment and Behavior. 46 (1), pp. 46 - 69. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013916512450173
Selling new neighborhoods as good for walking: Issues for measuring self-selection
Nathan, Andrea Grace, Wood, Lisa and Giles-Corti, Billie 2013. Selling new neighborhoods as good for walking: Issues for measuring self-selection. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 10 (1), pp. 5 - 9. https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.10.1.5
Effective recruitment and retention strategies in community health programs
McCann, Jennifer, Ridgers, Nicola D., Carver, Alison, Thornton, Lukar E. and Teychenne, Megan 2013. Effective recruitment and retention strategies in community health programs. Health Promotion Journal of Australia. 24 (2), pp. 104 - 110. https://doi.org/10.1071/HE13042
Parental chauffeurs: What drives their transport choice?
Carver, Alison, Timperio, Anna and Crawford, David 2013. Parental chauffeurs: What drives their transport choice? Journal of Transport Geography. 26, pp. 72 - 77. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtrangeo.2012.08.017
Environmental factors associated with active living in retirement village residents: Findings from an exploratory qualitative enquiry
Nathan, Andrea Grace, Wood, Lisa and Giles-Corti, Billie 2013. Environmental factors associated with active living in retirement village residents: Findings from an exploratory qualitative enquiry. Research on Aging. 35 (4), pp. 459 - 480. https://doi.org/10.1177/0164027512454886
People living in hilly residential areas in metropolitan Perth have less diabetes: Spurious association or important environmental determinant?
Villanueva, Karen, Knuiman, Matthew, Koohsari, Mohammad Javad, Hickey, Sharyn, Foster, Sarah, Badland, Hannah, Nathan, Andrea Grace, Bull, Fiona and Giles-Corti, Billie 2013. People living in hilly residential areas in metropolitan Perth have less diabetes: Spurious association or important environmental determinant? International Journal of Health Geographics. 12 (59), pp. 1 - 11. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-072X-12-59
Integrated planning for healthy communities: Does Victorian state legislation promote it?
Lowe, Melanie, Whitzman, Carolyn C. and Giles-Corti, Billie 2013. Integrated planning for healthy communities: Does Victorian state legislation promote it? State of Australian Cities (SOAC) National Conference. Australia: Griffith University. pp. 1 - 11
The impact of the built environment on health across the life course: design of a cross-sectional data linkage study
Villanueva, Karen, Pereira, Gavin, Knuiman, Matthew, Bull, Fiona, Wood, Lisa, Christian, Hayley, Foster, Sarah, Boruff, Bryan, Beesley, Bridget, Hickey, Sharyn, Joyce, Sarah, Nathan, Andrea Grace, Saarloos, Dick and Giles-Corti, Billie 2013. The impact of the built environment on health across the life course: design of a cross-sectional data linkage study. BMJ Open. 3 (1), pp. 1 - 11. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2012-002482
Initiating and maintaining recreational walking: A longitudinal study on the influence of neighborhood green space
Sugiyama, Takemi, Giles-Corti, Billie, Summers, Jacqui, du Toit, Lorinne, Leslie, Eva and Owen, Neville 2013. Initiating and maintaining recreational walking: A longitudinal study on the influence of neighborhood green space. Preventive Medicine. 57, pp. 178 - 182. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2013.05.015
A comparison study of children's independent mobility in England and Australia
Carver, Alison, Watson, Ben, Shaw, Ben and Hillman, Mayer 2013. A comparison study of children's independent mobility in England and Australia. Children's Geographies. 11 (4), pp. 461 - 475. https://doi.org/10.1080/14733285.2013.812303
Can the built environment reduce health inequalities? A study of neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantage and walking for transport
Turrell, Gavin, Haynes, Michele A., Wilson, Lee-Ann and Giles-Corti, Billie 2013. Can the built environment reduce health inequalities? A study of neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantage and walking for transport. Health and Place. 19 (1), pp. 89 - 98. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2012.10.008
Who does well where? Exploring how self-rated health differs across diverse people and neighborhoods
Badland, Hannah, Turrell, Gavin and Giles-Corti, Billie 2013. Who does well where? Exploring how self-rated health differs across diverse people and neighborhoods. Health and Place. 22, pp. 82 - 89. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2013.03.006
Maternal Misconceptions of Weight Status among Nepean Adolescents
Shrewsbury, Vanessa A., Garnett, S. P., Campbell, Karen, Carver, Alison, Torvaldsen, Siranda, Steinbeck, Katharine S., Cowell, Chris T. and Baur, Louise A. 2012. Maternal Misconceptions of Weight Status among Nepean Adolescents. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 112 (12), pp. 2007 - 2013. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2012.08.024
How does perceived risk mediate associations between perceived safety and parental restriction of adolescents' physical activity in their neighborhood?
Carver, Alison, Timperio, Anna, Hesketh, Kylie and Crawford, David 2012. How does perceived risk mediate associations between perceived safety and parental restriction of adolescents' physical activity in their neighborhood? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 9 (1), pp. 1 - 7. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-9-57
Destination and route attributes associated with adults' walking: A review
Sugiyama, Takemi, Neuhaus, Maike, Cole, Rachel, Giles-Corti, Billie and Owen, Neville 2012. Destination and route attributes associated with adults' walking: A review. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 44 (7), pp. 1275 - 1286. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e318247d286
The association between objectively measured neighbourhood features and walking for transport in mid-aged adults
Wilson, Lee-Ann, Giles-Corti, Billie and Turrell, Gavin 2012. The association between objectively measured neighbourhood features and walking for transport in mid-aged adults. Local Environment. 17 (2), pp. 131 - 146. https://doi.org/10.1080/13549839.2011.646965
Access to commercial destinations within the neighbourhood and walking among Australian older adults
Nathan, Andrea Grace, Pereira, Gavin, Foster, Sarah, Hooper, Paula, Saarloos, Dick and Giles-Corti, Billie 2012. Access to commercial destinations within the neighbourhood and walking among Australian older adults. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 9 (133), pp. 133 - 140. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-9-133
Young and free? A study of independent mobility among urban and rural dwelling Australian children
Carver, Alison, Timperio, Anna F. and Crawford, David A. 2012. Young and free? A study of independent mobility among urban and rural dwelling Australian children. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. 15 (6), pp. 505 - 510. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsams.2012.03.005
How is active transport associated with children's and adolescents' physical activity over time?
Carver, Alison, Timperio, Anna F., Hesketh, Kylie D., Ridgers, Nicola D., Salmon, Jo L. and Crawford, David A. 2011. How is active transport associated with children's and adolescents' physical activity over time? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. 8 (126), p. 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1479-5868-8-126
Environmental and psychosocial correlates of accelerometer-assessed and self-reported physical activity in Belgian adults
Van Dyck, Delfien, Cardon, Greet, Deforche, Benedicte, Giles-Corti, Billie, Sallis, James F., Owen, Neville and De Bourdeaudhuij, Ilse 2011. Environmental and psychosocial correlates of accelerometer-assessed and self-reported physical activity in Belgian adults. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine. 18 (3), pp. 235 - 245. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12529-010-9127-4
The association between objectively measured neighborhood features and walking in middle-aged adults
Wilson, Lee-Ann M., Giles-Corti, Billie, Burton, Nicola W., Giskes, Katrina, Haynes, Michele A. and Turrell, Gavin 2011. The association between objectively measured neighborhood features and walking in middle-aged adults. American Journal of Health Promotion. 25 (4), pp. e12 - e21. https://doi.org/10.4278/ajhp.090421-QUAN-144
Test-retest reliability of perceptions of the neighborhood environment for physical activity by socioeconomic status
Turrell, Gavin, Haynes, Michele A., O'Flaherty, Martin, Burton, Nicola W., Giskes, Katrina, Giles-Corti, Billie and Wilson, Lee-Ann 2011. Test-retest reliability of perceptions of the neighborhood environment for physical activity by socioeconomic status. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 8 (6), pp. 829 - 840. https://doi.org/10.1123/jpah.8.6.829
Associations between recreational walking and attractiveness, size, and proximity of neighborhood open spaces
Sugiyama, Takemi, Francis, Jacinta, Middleton, Nicholas J., Owen, Neville and Giles-Corti, Billie 2010. Associations between recreational walking and attractiveness, size, and proximity of neighborhood open spaces. American Journal of Public Health. 100 (9), pp. 1752 - 1757. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2009.182006
Neighborhood Disadvantage and Physical Activity: Baseline Results from the HABITAT Multilevel Longitudinal Study
Turrell, Gavin, Haynes, Michele A., Burton, Nicola W., Giles-Corti, Billie, Oldenburg, Brian, Wilson, Lee-Ann, Giskes, Katrina and Brown, Wendy 2010. Neighborhood Disadvantage and Physical Activity: Baseline Results from the HABITAT Multilevel Longitudinal Study. Annals of Epidemiology. 20 (3), pp. 171 - 181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annepidem.2009.11.004
HABITAT: A longitudinal multilevel study of physical activity change in mid-aged adults
Burton, Nicola W., Haynes, Michele A., Wilson, Lee-Ann, Giles-Corti, Billie, Oldenburg, Brian, Brown, Wendy, Giskes, Katrina and Turrell, Gavin 2009. HABITAT: A longitudinal multilevel study of physical activity change in mid-aged adults. BMC Public Health. 9 (1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-9-76
Physical activity for recreation or exercise on neighbourhood streets: Associations with perceived environmental attributes
Sugiyama, Takemi, Leslie, Eva R., Giles-Corti, Billie and Owen, Neville 2009. Physical activity for recreation or exercise on neighbourhood streets: Associations with perceived environmental attributes. Health and Place. 15 (4), pp. 1058 - 1063. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.healthplace.2009.05.001
Associations of neighbourhood greenness with physical and mental health: do walking, social coherence and local social interaction explain the relationships?
Sugiyama, Takemi, Leslie, Eva R., Giles-Corti, Billie and Owen, Neville 2008. Associations of neighbourhood greenness with physical and mental health: do walking, social coherence and local social interaction explain the relationships? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. 62 (5). https://doi.org/10.1136/jech.2007.064287