Title: Physical activity and the recreation opportunity spectrum: differences in important site attributes and perceived constraints
Author: Wilhelm Stanis, S.A.; Schneider, I.E.; Sinew, K.J.; Chavez, D.J.; Vogel, M.C.
Source: Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 27(4): 73-91
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Description: Both legislation and professional organizations call for parks and recreation agencies to address the need for greater physical activity among those living in the United States. A greater understanding of factors that facilitate and constrain physical activity in parks and recreation areas may improve agencies’ ability to address obesity and sedentary lifestyles. This paper examines potential differences in factors that influence physical activity between visitors to two parts of the recreation opportunity spectrum: urban and semi-primitive non-motorized (SPNM) sites in the United States. Specifically, visitors to urban and SPNM sites were compared in terms of their perceptions of site attributes important for physical activity as well as constraints to physical activity. Onsite questionnaires were administered to visitors across six sites in three states. Two sites, one urban and one SPNM, were selected in and around each of the following metropolitan areas: Los Angeles, CA; Chicago, IL; and Minneapolis, MN. Findings revealed both similarities and differences between urban and SPNM visitors on visitor and visit characteristics, site attributes important for physical activity and constraints to physical activity. The results from this comparison point to opportunities for recreation managers and planners across the recreation opportunity spectrum. First, the promotion of management approaches for physical activity can vary across the recreation opportunity spectrum for maximum effectiveness. Second, the identified site attributes important for and constraints to physical activity suggest opportunities for physical activity site design, visitor programs, and inter-agency coordination. Finally, as the majority of visitors reported visiting the area to do something physically active, recreation professionals at both opportunity areas are encouraged to coordinate or continue coordinated efforts with public health resources. Given the number of citizens that are overweight and obese, combining the resources and efforts of both recreation and public health professionals can increase efficiency and is essential across the recreation opportunity spectrum.
Keywords: health, exercise, leisure, parks, public land, urban, semi-primitive nonmotorized
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Wilhelm Stanis, S.A.; Schneider, I.E.; Sinew, K.J.; Chavez, D.J.; Vogel, M.C. 2009. Physical activity and the recreation opportunity spectrum: differences in important site attributes and perceived constraints. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration 27(4): 73-91
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