Journal of Community Health

, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 1092–1096 | Cite as

Environmental and Social Determinants of Youth Physical Activity Intensity Levels at Neighborhood Parks in Las Vegas, NV

  • Courtney Coughenour
  • Lisa Coker
  • Tim J. Bungum
Original Paper


Parks can play an important role in youth activity. This study used observational data to evaluate the relationship of environmental and social determinants to youth physical activity intensity levels in Las Vegas neighborhood parks. System for observing play and leisure activity in youth was used to code activity levels as sedentary, walking, or vigorous in five low-income and five high-income parks. Environmental determinants included amenities, incivilities, size, high-speed streets, sidewalk condition, and temperature. Social determinants included percent minority and Hispanic, gender, and income. A multinomial logistic regression model was performed. We observed 1,421 youth, 59 % male, 41 % female; 21 % were sedentary, 38 % walking, and 41 % vigorous. Males were more likely to be observed walking (OR 1.42) and vigorous (OR 2.21) when compared to sedentary. High-speed streets (OR 0.76), sidewalks condition (OR 0.34), and low-income neighborhoods (OR 0.07) was associated with decreased odds of vigorous activity; incivilities (OR 1.34) and amenities (OR 1.27) were associated with greater odds of being vigorous. Environmental and social determinants are associated with physical activity intensity levels at parks. Stakeholders should ensure quality parks, as they relate to physical activity levels in youth. Understanding environmental and social determinants that influence physical activity at parks is critical to utilizing their full potential in an effort to combat childhood obesity.


Built environment Urban planning Vigorous Moderate Childhood obesity 


  1. 1.
    Ogden, C., Carroll, M., Kit, B., & Flegal, K. (2012). Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999–2010. Journal of the American Medical Association, 307(5), 483–490.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Haskell, W., Lee, I-Min, Pate, R., Powell, K., Blair, S., Franklin, B., et al. (2007). Physical activity and public health: updated recommendation for adults from the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 39(8), 1423–1434.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Troiano, R., Berrigan, D., Dodd, K., Masse, L., Tilert, T., & McDowell, M. (2008). Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer. Medicine and Science in Sports Exercise, 40(1), 181–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey: Fact Sheets. Accessed 7 Oct 2013.
  5. 5.
    Sallis, J., & Glanz, K. (2009). Physical activity and food environments: solutions to the obesity epidemic. Milbank Quarterly, 87(1), 123–154.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Frank, L., Sallis, J., Conway, T., Chapman, J., Saelens, B., & Bachman, W. (2006). Many pathways from land use to health: Associations between neighborhood walk ability and active transportation, body mass index, and air quality. Journal of American Planning Association, 72(1), 75–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Estabrooks, P., Lee, R., & Gyurcsik, N. (2003). Resources for physical activity participation: Does availability and accessibility differ by neighborhood socioeconomic status? Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 25(2), 100–104.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Davison, K., & Lawson, C. (2006). Do attributes in the physical environment influence children’s physical activity? A review of the literature. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 3, 19.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cohen, D., McKenzie, T., Sehgal, A., Williamson, S., Golinelli, D., & Lurie, N. (2007). Contribution of public parks to physical activity. American Journal of Public Health, 97(3), 509–514.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cohen, D., Ashwood, S., Scott, M., Overton, A., Evenson, K., Staten, L., et al. (2006). Public parks and physical activity among adolescent girls. Pediatrics, 118(5), e1381–e1389.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Roemmich, J., Epstein, L., Raja, S., Yin, L., Robinson, J., & Winiewicz, D. (2006). Association of access to parks and recreational facilities with the physical activity of young children. Preventive Medicine, 43(6), 437–441.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Southern Nevada Strong. (2013). 2012 Southern nevada existing conditions report. Prepared by the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition, Lincy Institute, UNLV Urban Sustainability Initiative, UNLV School of Community Health Sciences.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Coughenour, C. & Pharr, J. (2012). Is there a disparity in park access in Clark County, NV? Presented at the Nevada Public Health Association Annual Conference, Las Vegas, NV.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ekelund, U., Sardinha, L., Anderssen, S., Harro, M., Franks, P., Brage, S., et al. (2004). Associations between objectively assessed physical activity and indicators of body fatness in 9- to 10-year-old European children: a population-based study from 4 distinct regions in Europe (the European Youth Heart Study). American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 80(3), 584–590.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). (2012). 2013 Adjusted home income limits. Retrieved 25 July 2013 from
  16. 16.
    Lee, R. (2010). Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA); Protocol and definitions. Retrieved 1 May 2012 from
  17. 17.
    McKenzie, T. (2006). System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity (SOPLAY); Description and procedures manual. Retrieved 1 May 2012 from
  18. 18.
    Kaczynski, A., Potwarka, L., & Saelens, B. (2008). Association of park size, distance, and features with physical activity in neighborhood parks. American Journal of Public Health, 98(8), 1451–1456.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Robinson, J., Lawton, B., Taylor, R., & Perkins, D. (2003). Multilevel longitudinal impacts of incivilities: Fear of crime, expectations, and block satisfaction. Journal of Qualitative Criminology, 19(3), 237–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Foster, S., & Giles-Corti, B. (2008). The built environment, neighborhood crime and constrained physical activity: An exploration of inconsistent findings. Preventive Medicine, 47, 241–251.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sallis, J., Taylor, W., Dowda, M., Freeson, P., & Pate, R. (2002). Correlates of vigorous physical activity for children in grades 1 through 12: Comparing parent-reported and objectively measured physical activity. Pediatric Exercise Science, 14(1), 30–44.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Harris, K., Gordon-Larsen, P., Chantala, K., & Udry, R. (2006). Longitudinal trends in race/ethnic disparities in leading health indicators from adolescence to young adulthood. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 160(1), 74–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Ahmed, N., Smith, G., Flores, A., Pamies, R., Mason, H., Woods, K., et al. (2005). Racial/ethnic disparity and predictors of leisure-time physical activity among US men. Ethnicity and Disease, 15, 40–52.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Courtney Coughenour
    • 1
  • Lisa Coker
    • 1
  • Tim J. Bungum
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Community Health SciencesUniversity of Nevada, Las VegasLas VegasUSA

Personalised recommendations