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Park access among school-age youth in the United States
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    Fewer than 30% of U.S. youth meet the recommendation to be active ≥ 60 minutes/day. Access to parks may encourage higher levels of physical activity. Purpose: To examine differences in park access among U.S. school-age youth, by demographic characteristics and urbanicity of block group. Methods: Park data from 2012 were obtained from TomTom, Incorporated. Population data were obtained from the 2010 U.S. Census and American Community Survey 2006–2010. Using a park access score for each block group based on the number of national, state or local parks within one-half mile, we examined park access among youth by majority race/ethnicity, median household income, median education, and urbanicity of block groups. Results: Overall, 61.3% of school-age youth had park access—64.3% in urban, 36.5% in large rural, 37.8% in small rural, and 35.8% in isolated block groups. Park access was higher among youth in block groups with higher median household income and higher median education. Conclusion: Urban youth are more likely to have park access. However, park access also varies by race/ethnicity, median education, and median household. Considering both the demographics and urbanicity may lead to better characterization of park access and its association with physical activity among youth.
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