Journal of Community Health

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 132–140 | Cite as

Utility of the Physical Activity Resource Assessment for Child-centric Physical Activity Intervention Planning in Two Urban Neighborhoods

  • Rita D. DeBateEmail author
  • Emily J. Koby
  • Tamara E. Looney
  • John K. Trainor
  • Marissa L. Zwald
  • Carol A. Bryant
  • Robert J. McDermott
Original paper


Children’s physical activity (PA) may be determined, in part, by environmental influences such as access to diverse and safe places to play. As part of the development of a community-based PA program, a PA asset assessment was conducted in two low-income urban neighborhoods that support elementary schools serving minority youth. Resources were rated using an adapted version of the Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA), a multi-dimensional instrument that rates various venues on their features, amenities, and incivilities. Seventy-one child-centric venues (e.g., parks, playgrounds, community centers, sports facilities, fitness centers, etc.) were assessed within a three-mile radius of each school. Community member feedback via interviews with parent–child dyads revealed issues (e.g., bullying) not captured by the PARA that can influence venue use. Whereas the PARA can be a useful needs assessment and program planning tool for community-based PA programs, supplementing PARA data with community-based input may reduce contextual error in program development.


Physical activity Built environment Childhood obesity 



Funding for this project was provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Grant Number 1H75DP001733-01 Childhood Obesity Program). The views expressed herein are solely those of the researchers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita D. DeBate
    • 1
    Email author
  • Emily J. Koby
    • 2
  • Tamara E. Looney
    • 2
  • John K. Trainor
    • 2
  • Marissa L. Zwald
    • 2
  • Carol A. Bryant
    • 2
  • Robert J. McDermott
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Community and Family Health, College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA
  2. 2.Florida Prevention Research Center, College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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