Is level of neighbourhood green space associated with physical activity in green space?

Ord, K., Mitchell, R. and Pearce, J. (2013) Is level of neighbourhood green space associated with physical activity in green space? International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 10(127), (doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-127)

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Abstract

Background There is accumulating evidence that greater availability of green space in a neighbourhood is associated with health benefits for the local population. One mechanism proposed for this association is that green space provides a venue for, and therefore encourages, physical activity. It has also been suggested that socio-economic health inequalities may be narrower in greener areas because of the equalised opportunity for physical activity green spaces provide. However, research exploring associations between the availability of green space and physical activity has produced mixed results. Limits to the assessment of the type and amount of physical activity which occurs specifically in green space may account for these mixed findings. This observational study was therefore concerned with the extent to which green space is a venue for physical activity and whether this could account for narrower socio-economic health inequalities in greener neighbourhoods.

Method Secondary analysis of cross sectional data on 3679 adults (16+) living in urban areas across Scotland matched with a neighbourhood level measure of green space availability. Associations between green space availability and both total physical activity, and activity specifically within green space, were explored using logistic regression models. Interactions between socio-economic position and physical activity were assessed. All models adjusted for age, sex and household income.

Results The availability of green space in a neighbourhood was not associated with total physical activity or that specifically in green space. There was no evidence that income-related inequalities in physical activity within green space were narrower in greener areas of Scotland.

Conclusion Physical activity may not be the main mechanism explaining the association between green space and health in Scotland. The direct effect of perceiving a natural environment on physiological and psychological health may offer an alternative explanation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Mitchell, Professor Richard
Authors: Ord, K., Mitchell, R., and Pearce, J.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Public Health
Journal Name:International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:1479-5868
ISSN (Online):1479-5868
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2013 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 10:127
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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