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Adolescents' ratings of features of parks that encourage park visitation and physical activity

Veitch, Jenny, Salmon, Jo, Parker, Kate, Bangay, Shaun, Deforche, Benedicte and Timperio, Anna 2016, Adolescents' ratings of features of parks that encourage park visitation and physical activity, International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity, vol. 13, Article number : 73, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1186/s12966-016-0391-9.

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Title Adolescents' ratings of features of parks that encourage park visitation and physical activity
Author(s) Veitch, JennyORCID iD for Veitch, Jenny orcid.org/0000-0001-8962-0887
Salmon, JoORCID iD for Salmon, Jo orcid.org/0000-0002-4734-6354
Parker, Kate
Bangay, Shaun
Deforche, Benedicte
Timperio, Anna
Journal name International journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity
Volume number 13
Season Article number : 73
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher BioMed Central
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2016
ISSN 1479-5868
Keyword(s) Adolescent
Images
Park Features
Parks
Perceptions
Photographic
Physical activity
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Nutrition & Dietetics
Physiology
Summary BACKGROUND: The neighbourhood environment such as the availability of parks are a key, but under-researched, influence on adolescents' physical activity. In addition to overall physical activity levels, park-based physical activity and park visitation is low in this age group. Thus, it is critical to identify park features that may encourage or discourage adolescents from visiting parks. This study used a novel methodology to identify key physical characteristics of parks that are perceived to be important for park visitation and park-based physical activity among adolescents.

METHODS: Four secondary schools located in low, mid and high socio-economic status areas of Victoria, Australia were recruited. Using a purpose-built computer application, students in years 8-10 were presented with 44 original photographic images of park features. Participants rated each image (range 1-10) on how likely the feature would be to encourage them to visit a park and to engage in park-based physical activity, and placed symbols ('thumbs up'/'thumbs down') on aspects of the image that had a positive or negative influence on their ratings.

RESULTS: Participants (n = 99) had a mean age of 13.3 years (SD = 0.87) and 53% were female. Overall, the top three rated images prompting park visitation by adolescents were: a long steep slide, a flying fox and a table tennis table. These first two features were also reported as being likely to promote physical activity in the park. Differences in ratings were observed for boys and girls. The images that received the greatest number of "thumbs-up" symbols included large swings and slides, table tennis tables, no-smoking signs, flying foxes and BMX tracks. The images that received the greatest number of "thumbs-down" symbols included signage about rules, graffiti, toilets, concrete steps, and skate bowls.

CONCLUSION: Physically challenging play equipment is likely to encourage adolescents to visit and be active in parks. Rules, graffiti, toilets and skate bowls may discourage visitation. It is important for park designers, planners and policy makers to consider adolescents' views of what park design features are important so that parks are created that support and encourage visitation and optimise levels of physical activity when in the park.
Language eng
DOI 10.1186/s12966-016-0391-9
Field of Research 110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Socio Economic Objective 920401 Behaviour and Health
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Grant ID NHMRC 1053426
Copyright notice ©2016, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30084890

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Created: Wed, 13 Jul 2016, 16:10:40 EST

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.