Availability of recreational resources and physical activity in adults

Am J Public Health. 2007 Mar;97(3):493-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2006.087734. Epub 2007 Jan 31.


Objectives: Using data from a large cohort of adults aged 45 to 84 years-old, we investigated whether availability of recreational resources is related to physical activity levels.

Methods: Data from a multiethnic sample of 2723 adult residents of New York City, NY; Baltimore, Md; and Forsyth County, NC, were linked to data on locations of recreational resources. We measured the availability (density) of resources within 0.5 (0.8 km), 1, 2, and 5 miles of each participant's residence and used binomial regression to investigate associations of density with physical activity.

Results: After adjustment for potential confounders, individuals in the tertile of participants residing in areas with the highest density of resources were more likely to report physical activity during a typical week than were individuals in the lowest tertile. Associations between availability of recreational resources and physical activity levels were not present for the smallest area assessed (0.5 miles) but were present for areas ranging from 1 to 5 miles. These associations were slightly stronger among minority and low-income residents.

Conclusions: Availability of resources may be 1 of several environmental factors that influence individuals' physical activity behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Baltimore
  • City Planning*
  • Exercise*
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Resources / supply & distribution*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • New York City
  • North Carolina
  • Public Facilities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recreation*
  • Residence Characteristics / statistics & numerical data*
  • Urban Health / statistics & numerical data*