Green Exercise: How Are Characteristics of Urban Green Spaces Associated with Adolescents' Physical Activity and Health?

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Nov 4;16(21):4281. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16214281.


This study investigates associations between characteristics of urban green spaces (UGSs) and adolescents' self-reported green exercise (GE), general health, and body mass index (BMI). Data were collected through face-to-face personal interviews with 384 adolescents ages 13-19 between 1 March and 31 May, 2018 in UGSs in Aydın, Turkey. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted to examine associations controlling for confounding factors. Stratified analyses were also conducted to determine differences between boys and girls. Positive associations with the duration of GE included many trees, lawns, soccer fields and basketball courts, play equipment, and self-reported general health. Whereas increased BMI was associated with increased benches/ seating, lawns and exercise trails were positively associated with self-reported general health. Negative relationships with increased BMI included many trees, open areas, and outdoor fitness equipment. Increased distance from UGSs was negatively associated with the frequency of GE. In stratified analyses, positive associations between boys' duration of GE and self-reported general health were found. Whereas soccer fields and basketball courts were associated with girls' frequency of GE, exercise trails and play equipment were correlated with girls' self-reported general health. Negative associations with the boys' frequency of GE included increased BMI and screen time. Whereas increased distance from UGSs was negatively associated with girls' frequency of GE, many trees, lawns, exercise trails, play equipment, open areas, flowerbeds, and outdoor fitness equipment were negatively correlated with girls' increased BMI. Findings suggest that adolescents' GE and health could be promoted with many trees, lawns, flowerbeds, open areas, play and outdoor fitness equipment, exercise trails, and soccer fields and basketball courts. Findings of this study should be tested with longitudinal or intervention studies in future research.

Keywords: BMI; features; green exercise; health; physical activity; urban green space.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Health
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cities / statistics & numerical data
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gardens / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Parks, Recreational / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Report