School of Public Health, Nanchang University, China; School of Public Health, Texas A&M University, United States.
Internationally, parks have been shown to be an important community asset for physical activity (PA), but little is known about the relationship between park usage and physical activity in China. The purpose of this study was to determine the association between park user characteristics and PA in Nanchang, China. In June 2014, 75,678 people were observed in eight parks over 12 days using SOPARC, a validated systematic observation tool. A logistic regression analysis was used to determine the association between PA and park user characteristics. Most park users were older adults (53.5%) or adults (34.6%). Overall, 55% of park users engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Fewer women were observed in parks than men, but were 66% more likely to be engaged in MVPA than men. Park users were more likely to be observed in MVPA between 6-9 am and when the temperature was below 30 °C. Chinese park users were more active (55%) than US studies in Tampa (30%), Chicago (49%), and Los Angeles (34%). More research is necessary to identify features of parks that are associated with greater PA so that effective interventions can be developed to promote active park use in Chinese citizens.
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