, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 344-350
Date: 17 May 2008

Places to Play: Association of Park Space and Facilities with Healthy Weight Status among Children

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The purpose of this study was to examine how healthy weight status among youth was related to (i) three proximity-based park variables: number of parks within 1 km of home, total area of parkland within 1 km, and distance to the closest park from home, and (ii) the availability of 13 specific park facilities within 1 km of the home. Data were collected from parents of children living in four neighborhoods of a medium-sized Canadian city. Logistic regression analyses revealed that none of the three proximity-based park variables was significantly associated with healthy weight status among children in the sample. However, when availability of the 13 park facilities was examined, children with a park playground within 1 km were almost five times more likely to be classified as being of a healthy weight rather then at risk or overweight compared to those children without playgrounds in nearby parks. Results suggest that availability of certain park facilities may play a more important role in promoting physical activity and healthy weight status among children than availability of park space in general. Implications for park design are discussed.