An Observational Study of Physical Activity in Parks in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities in Urban Honolulu, Hawaii, 2009
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An Observational Study of Physical Activity in Parks in Asian and Pacific Islander Communities in Urban Honolulu, Hawaii, 2009

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    Research on park use among Asians and Pacific Islanders is limited. This study examined use and conditions of 6 urban parks, varying in size, location, and neighborhood income level, in predominantly Asian and Pacific Islander communities in Honolulu, Hawaii. Sociodemographic predictors of park use were also identified.


    Observations were conducted from June through October 2009. Raters used the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities to count the number of people in predesignated zones and to code their physical activity level as sedentary, moderate, or vigorous. Raters coded park conditions on the basis of accessibility and usability, whether equipment and supervision were provided, and whether organized activities were occurring. Differences associated with sex and age of park users and income level of the neighborhood were examined by using χ² and logistic regression.


    Raters observed 6,477 park users, most of whom were men. Approximately 60% of users were sedentary, 26% were engaged in moderate activities, and 14% performed vigorous activities. Women and girls were less active than men and boys. More users were present in the evenings, but morning users were more active. Although park users in low-income neighborhoods were more active than users in high-income neighborhoods, fewer people used the low-income parks. Most parks were accessible and usable but few provided equipment and supervision. Organized activities were rarely observed.


    More efforts should be made to promote parks as a physical activity resource in Asian and Pacific Islander communities, particularly for women, girls, and low-income residents. More research should be conducted to identify barriers and facilitators to park use, especially among underrepresented populations.

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