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Prev Med. 2008 Nov;47(5):514-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2008.07.015. Epub 2008 Jul 30.

Features of public open spaces and physical activity among children: findings from the CLAN study.

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Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition Research, Deakin University, Australia.



To examine associations between features of public open spaces, and children's physical activity.


163 children aged 8-9 years and 334 adolescents aged 13-15 years from Melbourne, Australia participated in 2004.


A Geographic Information System was used to identify all public open spaces (POS) within 800 m of participants' homes and their closest POS. The features of all POS identified were audited in 2004/5. Accelerometers measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) after school and on weekends. Linear regression analyses examined associations between features of the closest POS and participants' MVPA.


Most participants had a POS within 800 m of their home. The presence of playgrounds was positively associated with younger boys' weekend MVPA (B=24.9 min/day; p< or =0.05), and lighting along paths was inversely associated with weekend MVPA (B=-54.9 min/day; p< or =0.05). The number of recreational facilities was inversely associated with younger girls' MVPA after school (B=-2.6 min/day; p< or =0.05) and on the weekend (B=-8.7 min/day; p< or =0.05). The presence of trees providing shade (5.8 min/day, p< or =0.01) and signage regarding dogs (B=6.8 min/day, p< or =0.05) were positively associated with adolescent girls' MVPA after school.


Certain features of POS were associated with participants' MVPA, although mixed associations were evident. Further research is required to clarify these complex relationships.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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