The Association Between Park Facilities and Duration of Physical Activity During Active Park Visits

J Urban Health. 2018 Dec;95(6):869-880. doi: 10.1007/s11524-018-0311-1.


Public parks provide places for urban residents to obtain physical activity (PA), which is associated with numerous health benefits. Adding facilities to existing parks could be a cost-effective approach to increase the duration of PA that occurs during park visits. Using objectively measured PA and comprehensively measured park visit data among an urban community-dwelling sample of adults, we tested the association between the variety of park facilities that directly support PA and the duration of PA during park visits where any PA occurred. Cross-classified multilevel models were used to account for the clustering of park visits (n = 1553) within individuals (n = 372) and parks (n = 233). Each additional different PA facility at a park was independently associated with a 6.8% longer duration of PA bouts that included light-intensity activity, and an 8.7% longer duration of moderate to vigorous PA time. Findings from this study are consistent with the hypothesis that more PA facilities increase the amount of PA that visitors obtain while already active at a park.

Keywords: Accelerometer; Built environment; GIS; GPS; Recreation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Environment Design / statistics & numerical data*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multilevel Analysis
  • Parks, Recreational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Recreation*
  • Time Factors
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*