Abstract P267: New Urbanism and Its Impact on Active Living among Inner City Children/Youth
Introduction: Although it is known that urban design and land use at the community level contributes to active living, there remains a paucity of such information among low income and diverse populations affected by such infrastructure. Reconstruction of an inner city community in Chattanooga, Tennessee afforded the opportunity to assess the impact of new urbanist construction on active living among African-American children/youth living in the inner city.
Hypothesis: Transportation and recreational physical activity levels among children/youth residing in a new urbanist community was hypothesized to be higher compared to demographically similar children/youth who reside in a more traditional inner city community.
Methods: Using the System for Observing Physical Activity and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) we examined an urban trail and recreational park areas of two distinct communities to assess physical activity, sports, and recreational of children/youth. SOPARC data were collected in each of 4 settings in each community (East, a traditional and South, a new urbanist) during four 1-h observation periods during 7 days of clement weather. Observations were made during each day of the week in each setting (i.e., Sunday through Saturday).
Results: The SOPARC assessments of the urban trail and pedestrian/bicycle routes in the South and East yielded a total of 672 and 436 children/youth observations, respectively. South children/youth were over three times more likely to engage in vigorous physical activity compared to their East counterparts (Mantel-Haenszel Chi Square = 19.67; P< 0.00001).
Conclusions: The present findings support the hypothesis that enhanced environmental supports, such as those found within the South community, increase the likelihood of greater levels of activity among children/youth compared to children/youth that were not exposed to these environmental enhancements. This comparative difference was most remarkable when examining the SOPARC assessment differences along the transport path/sidewalk routes, with South children/youth being significantly more likely than the East children/youth to engage in more vigorous forms of physical activity along this transport/recreational corridor, providing evidence that access to these types of ‘urban’ trails appears to translate into increased opportunities for physical activity among children/youth.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.