Deakin University
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Understanding children’s preference for park features that encourage physical activity: an adaptive choice based conjoint analysis

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Version 3 2024-06-19, 05:53
Version 2 2024-06-04, 13:48
Version 1 2021-10-13, 08:18
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-19, 05:53 authored by Jenny VeitchJenny Veitch, Kylie BallKylie Ball, E Rivera, Venurs LohVenurs Loh, B Deforche, Anna TimperioAnna Timperio
Abstract Background Parks are a key setting for physical activity for children. However, little is known about which park features children prefer and which features are most likely to encourage them to be active in parks. This study examined the relative importance of park features among children for influencing their choice of park for engaging in park-based physical activity. Methods Children (n = 252; 8-12 years, 42% male) attending three primary schools in Melbourne, Australia completed a survey at school. They were required to complete a series of Adaptive Choice-Based Conjoint analysis tasks, with responses used to identify the part-worth utilities and relative importance scores of selected park features using Hierarchical Bayes analyses within Sawtooth Software. Results For the overall sample and both boys and girls, the most important driver of choice for a park that would encourage them to be active was presence of a flying fox (overall conjoint analysis relative importance score: 15.8%; 95%CI = 14.5, 17.1), followed by a playground (13.5%; 95%CI = 11.9, 15.2). For the overall sample, trees for climbing had the third highest importance score (10.2%; 95%CI = 8.9, 11.6); however, swings had 3rd highest importance for girls (11.1, 95%CI = 9.3, 12.9) and an obstacle course/parkour area had the 3rd highest importance score for boys (10.7, 95%CI = 9.0, 12.4). For features with two levels, part-worth utility scores showed that the presence of a feature was always preferred over the absence of a feature. For features with multiple levels, long flying foxes, large adventure playgrounds, lots of trees for climbing, large round swings, large climbing equipment, and large grassy open space were the preferred levels. Conclusion To ensure parks appeal as a setting that encourages children to engage in physical activity, park planners and local authorities and organisations involved in park design should prioritise the inclusion of a long flying fox, large adventure playgrounds, lots of trees for climbing, large round swings and obstacle courses/parkour areas.



International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity



Article number

ARTN 133


1 - 11



Open access

  • Yes







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal