Examining the Features of Parks That Children Visit During Three Stages of Childhood

Parks provide an opportunity for children to be physically active, but are rarely fully utilised. A better understanding of which park features attract children of varying ages is needed. This study examined which features are present at parks that children visit most often at different stages throughout childhood. Parents reported the park their child visited most often at three timepoints: T1 = 3–5 years, T2 = 6–8 years, and T3 = 9–11 years. These parks were then audited (using a purposely created audit tool) to capture information relating to access, activity areas and quality. Online mapping tools were also used to determine walking distance to parks and park size. Parks visited at T2 were further from home, larger, and had more road crossings, full courts, other facilities and comfort amenities such as toilets and lights than T1 parks. Parks visited at T3 were larger and had more sports ovals compared to T1 parks, and were significantly less likely to have barbeque facilities than T2 parks. Our findings suggest that as children transition from pre-school (T1), to primary school age (T2 and T3), they visit parks that have more facilities to support sport and active recreation.



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Timperio, Anna (Author); Flowers, Elliott P (Author); Veitch, Jenny (Author); Hesketh, Kylie D (Author)


International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health : 2019