Journal of Community Health

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 344–350

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

  • Luke R. Potwarka
  • Andrew T. Kaczynski
  • Andrea L. Flack
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s10900-008-9104-x

Cite this article as:
Potwarka, L.R., Kaczynski, A.T. & Flack, A.L. J Community Health (2008) 33: 344. doi:10.1007/s10900-008-9104-x

Abstract

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.

Keywords

Park space Park facilities Childhood obesity Childhood overweight Physical activity 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luke R. Potwarka
    • 1
  • Andrew T. Kaczynski
    • 1
  • Andrea L. Flack
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Recreation and Leisure StudiesUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada

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