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Shared Use of Physical Activity Facilities Among North Carolina Faith Communities, 2013
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    Shared use of recreational facilities is a promising strategy for increasing access to places for physical activity. Little is known about shared use in faith-based settings. This study examined shared use practices and barriers in faith communities in North Carolina.


    Faith communities in North Carolina (n = 234) completed an online survey (October–December 2013) designed to provide information about the extent and nature of shared use of recreational facilities. We used binary logistic regression to examine differences between congregations that shared use and those that did not share use.


    Most of the faith communities (82.9%) that completed the survey indicated that they share their facilities with outside individuals and organizations. Formal agreements were more common when faith communities shared indoor spaces such as gymnasiums and classroom meeting spaces than when they shared outdoor spaces such as playgrounds or athletic fields. Faith communities in the wealthiest counties were more likely to share their spaces than were faith communities in poorer counties. Faith communities in counties with the best health rankings were more likely to share facilities than faith communities in counties that had lower health rankings. The most frequently cited reasons faith communities did not share their facilities were that they did not know how to initiate the process of sharing their facilities or that no outside groups had ever asked.


    Most faith communities shared their facilities for physical activity. Research is needed on the relationship between shared use and physical activity levels, including the effect of formalizing shared-use policies.

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