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Racial/Ethnic Differences in Perceived Access, Environmental Barriers to Use, and Use of Community Parks
  • Published Date:
    Apr 15 2010
  • Source:
    Prev Chronic Dis. 7(3).
  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-467.17 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Community parks provide places for people to be physically active. Our objective was to determine how access to, barriers to use of, and use of community parks differ by race/ethnicity.


    Analyses are based on a cross-sectional national sample of adults (N = 5,157) participating in the 2006 HealthStyles mail survey. Community parks were defined as outdoor public areas within 10 miles or a 20-minute drive from where a person lives that include walking/bike paths, nature preserves, playgrounds, beaches, lakes, rivers, or similar places.


    Overall, 12% of respondents reported not having a community park. Among those with a community park, 14% reported personal safety concerns and 14% reported inadequate or poorly maintained facilities as barriers to park use. Race/ethnicity was not associated with park access; however, Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks were more likely than non-Hispanic whites to report barriers. Among those with access to a community park, 83% reported any park use in the previous year and, of these, 67% reported an active visit. Odds of any park use did not differ significantly by race/ethnicity. Odds of an active visit were significantly lower in non-Hispanic blacks than whites (odds ratio, 0.67) but did not significantly differ between Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites.


    Parks are valuable community resources to all racial/ethnic groups. To promote and increase community park use, it is important to be aware that parks are used differently by different racial/ethnic groups and that barriers may differentially influence park use.

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