Advertisement

Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 89, Issue 1, pp 171–184 | Cite as

The Effectiveness of a Community Playground Intervention

  • Robin Quigg
  • Anthony Ivor Reeder
  • Andrew Gray
  • Alec Holt
  • Debra Waters
Article

Abstract

This study assessed whether an upgrade of playgrounds in a community was associated with changes in the physical activity of local children. The study used a natural experiment design with a local authority project to upgrade two community playgrounds as the intervention and a matched control community. Children’s physical activity was measured by an Actigraph GT1M accelerometer worn for 8 days, enabling up to 6 days of data to be analyzed. A self-administered parent/guardian questionnaire was used to collect additional data, including perceptions of the neighborhood, school-travel modes, days involved in extracurricular activities, ethnicity, caregiver age, caregiver sex, household vehicle access, and household income. At baseline, 184 children (5–10 years old) participated. Of these, 156 completed the 1-year follow-up assessment (20% lost to follow-up). There was statistically significant evidence that change in mean total daily physical activity was associated with on an interaction between participant’s body mass index (BMI) z-score and her or his community of residence (p = 0.006), with the intervention being associated with higher levels of activity for children with lower BMIs but lower levels for children with higher BMIs. Physical activity is not the only focus of local authority playground provision as playgrounds also have benefits for social development and fundamental movement skills. However, making sure that physical activity is always included in the design rationale and that playgrounds are designed to encourage and sustain physical activity could be a useful population health intervention. The effects of such interventions on different subgroups are of importance, especially if the effects differ over levels of BMI.

Keywords

Physical activity Children Accelerometer Natural experiment BMI 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors have no professional relationships with companies or manufacturers who will benefit from the results of the present study.

References

  1. 1.
    Floyd MF, Crespo CJ, Sallis JF. Active living research in diverse and disadvantaged communities: stimulating dialogue and policy solutions. Am J Prev Med. 2008; 34(4): 271–274.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Floyd MF, Spengler JO, Maddock JE, Gobster PH, Suau LJ. Park-based physical activity in diverse communities of two U.S. cities: an observational study. Am J Prev Med. 2008; 34(4): 299–305.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sallis J, Glanz K. The role of built environments in physical activity, eating, and obesity in childhood. Future Child. 2006; 16(1): 89–108.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Schoeppe S, Braubach M. Tackling Obesity by Creating Healthy Residential Environments. Copenhagen, Denmark: World Health Organization; 2007.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Timperio A, Ball K, Salmon J, et al. Personal, family, social, and environmental correlates of active commuting to school. Am J Prev Med. 2006; 30(1): 45–51.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Timperio A, Crawford D, Telford A, Salmon J. Perceptions about the local neighborhood and walking and cycling among children. Prev Med. 2004; 38(1): 39–47.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bundy AC, Luckett T, Tranter PJ, et al. The risk is that there is ‘no risk’: a simple, innovative intervention to increase children’s activity levels. Int J Early Years Educ. 2009; 17(1): 33–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Colabianchi N, Kinsella AE, Coulton CJ, Moore SM. Utilization and physical activity levels at renovated and unrenovated school playgrounds. Prev Med. 2009; 48(2): 140–143.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Farley TA, Meriwether RA, Baker ET, Rice JC, Webber LS. Where Do the Children Play? The Influence of Playground Equipment on Physical Activity of Children in Free Play. J Phys Act Heal. 2008; 5(2): 319–331.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hannon JC, Brown BB. Increasing preschoolers’ physical activity intensities: an activity-friendly preschool playground intervention. Prev Med. 2008; 46(6): 532–536.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Loucaides CA, Jago R, Charalambous I. Promoting physical activity during school break times: piloting a simple, low cost intervention. Prev Med. 2009; 48(4): 332–334.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ridgers ND, Stratton G, Fairclough SJ, Twisk JWR. Long-term effects of a playground markings and physical structures on children’s recess physical activity levels. Prev Med. 2007; 44(5): 393–397.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Stratton G. Promoting children’s physical activity in primary school: an intervention study using playground markings. Ergonomics. 2000; 43(10): 1538–1546.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Stratton G, Leonard J. The effects of playground markings on the energy expenditure of 5–7-year-old children. Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2002; 14(2): 170–180.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Stratton G, Mullan E. The effect of mulitcolor playground markings on children’s physical activity level during recess. Prev Med. 2005; 41(5–6): 828–833.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cardon G, Labarque V, Smits D, De Bourdeaudhuij I. Promoting physical activity at the pre-school playground: the effects of providing markings and play equipment. Prev Med. 2009; 48(4): 335–340.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Quigg R, Gray A, Reeder AI, Holt A, Waters DL. Using accelerometers and GPS units to identify the proportion of daily physical activity located in parks with playgrounds in New Zealand children. Prev Med. 2010; 50(5–6): 235–240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ogilvie D, Mitchell R, Mutrie N, Petticrew M, Platt S. Evaluating health effects of transport interventions. Am J Prev Med. 2006; 31(2): 118–126.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Education Review Office. Education Review Reports. 2008. http://www.ero.govt.nz. Accessed 23 June 2008.
  20. 20.
    Dunedin City Council. Play Strategy Supporting Document. Dunedin, New Zealand: Dunedin City Council; 2006.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Dunedin City Council. Dunedin City Council: Transportation Strategy. Dunedin, New Zealand: Dunedin City Council; 1999.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Dunedin City Council. Dunedin Community Profile: a Summary of 2001 Demographic Information. Dunedin, New Zealand: Dunedin City Council; 2001.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Dunedin City Council. Play Strategy. Dunedin, New Zealand: Dunedin City Council; 2006.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Quigg R, Freeman C. Do children like walking? Children in the city of Dunedin, New Zealand. Child Aust. 2008; 33(3): 13–20.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Moeller NC, Korsholm L, Kristensen PL, Andersen LB, Wedderkopp N, Froberg K. Unit-specific calibration of Actigraph accelerometers in a mechanical setup—is it worth the effort? The effect on random output variation caused by technical inter-instrumental variability in the laboratory and in the field. BMC Med Res Methodol. 2008; 8: 19.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Mattocks C, Ness A, Leary S, et al. Use of accelerometers in a large field-based study of children: protocols, design issues, and effects on precision. J Phys Act Heal. 2008; 5(S1): S98–S111.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Rowlands AV, Pilgrim EL, Eston RG. Patterns of habitual activity across weekdays and weekend days in 9–11-year-old children. Prev Med. 2008; 46(4): 317–324.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Andrews FJ. Parental perceptions of residential location: impacts on children’s health. Health Place. 2010; 16(2): 252–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Carver A, Timperio A, Crawford D. Perceptions of neighborhood safety and physical activity among youth: the CLAN study. J Phys Act Heal. 2008; 5(3): 430–444.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Galster GC, Santiago AM. What’s the ‘Hood’ got to do with it? Parental perceptions about how neighborhood mechanisms affect their children. J Urban Aff. 2006; 28(3): 201–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Lumeng JC, Appugliese D, Cabral HJ, Bradley RH, Zuckerman B. Neighborhood safety and overweight status in children. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2006; 160(1): 25–31.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Timperio A, Salmon J, Telford A, Crawford D. Perceptions of local neighborhood environments and their relationship to childhood overweight and obesity. Int J Obes. 2005; 29(2): 170–175.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Guinhouya CB, Hubert H, Soubrier S, Vilhelm C, Lemdani M, Durocher A. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among children: discrepancies in accelerometry-based cut-off points. Obesity. 2006; 14(5): 774–777.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    McClain JJ, Abraham TL, Brusseau TA Jr, Tudor-Locke C. Epoch length and accelerometer outputs in children: comparison to direct observation. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008; 40(12): 2080–2087.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Witten K, Hiscock R, Pearce J, Blakely T. Neighbourhood access to open spaces and the physical activity of residents: a national study. Prev Med. 2008; 47(3): 299–303.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Kamtsios S, Digelidis N. Physical Activity Levels, Exercise Attitudes, Self-Perceptions and BMI Type of 11 to 12 Year-Old Children. J Child Health Care. 2008; 12(3): 232–240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Slater SJ, Ewing R, Powell LM, Chaloupka FJ, Johnston LD, O’Malley PM. The Association Between Community Physical Activity Settings and Youth Physical Activity, Obesity, and Body Mass Index. J Adolesc Health. 2010; 47(5): 496–503.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Wolch J, Jerrett M, Reynolds K, et al. Childhood obesity and proximity to urban parks and recreational resources: a longitudinal cohort study. Health Place. 2011; 17(1): 207–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Salmond C, Crampton P, Atkinson J. NZDep2006 Index of Deprivation. Wellington, New Zealand: Dept of Public Health, University of Otago Wellington School of Medicine and Health Sciences; 2007.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Williams S. Body Mass Index reference curves derived from a New Zealand Birth Cohort. N Z Med J. 2000; 113(1114): 308–311.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Cole TJ, Bellizzi MC, Flegal KM, Dietz WH. Establishing a standard definition for child overweight and obesity worldwide: international survey. BMJ. 2000; 320(7244): 1240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Ministry of Health. Ethnicity Data Protocols for the Health and Disability Sector. 2004; http://www.nzhis.govt.nz/moh.nsf/pagesns/228/$File/ethnicity-data-protocols.pdf. Accessed 6 May 2010
  43. 43.
    Mummery WK, Brown WJ. Whole of community physical activity interventions: easier said than done. Br J Sports Med. 2009; 43(1): 39–43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Harten N, Olds T, Dollman J. The effects of gender, motor skills and play area on the free play activities of 8–11 year old school children. Health Place. 2008; 14(3): 386–393.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Frost JL, Woods IC. Perspectives on Play and Playgrounds. In: Fromberg DP, Bergen D, eds. Play from Birth to Twelve: Contexts, Perspectives, and Meanings. 2nd ed. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor and Francis; 2006: 331–342.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Woolley H. Watch This Space! Designing for Children’s Play in Public Open Spaces. Geography Compass. 2008; 2(2): 498–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Kaczynski AT, Potwarka LR, Smale BJA, Havitz ME. Association of parkland proximity with neighborhood and park-based physical activity: variations by gender and age. Leisure Sci. 2009; 31(2): 174–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Timperio A, Ball K, Roberts R, Campbell K, Andrianopoulos N, Crawford D. Children’s fruit and vegetable intake: associations with the neighborhood food environment. Prev Med. 2008; 46(4): 331–335.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Zhan FB, Brender JD, De Lima I, Suarez L, Langlois PH. Match rate and positional accuracy of two geocoding methods for epidemiologic research. Ann Epidemiol. 2006; 16(11): 842–849.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robin Quigg
    • 1
  • Anthony Ivor Reeder
    • 1
  • Andrew Gray
    • 2
  • Alec Holt
    • 3
  • Debra Waters
    • 2
  1. 1.Cancer Society of New Zealand Social and Behavioural Research Unit, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of MedicineUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  2. 2.Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, Dunedin School of MedicineUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of Information ScienceUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

Personalised recommendations