Crouse Health Online: Wellness is just a click away.
Share Share
  |  Connect with Us: 
large
med
small
Text Size
 

Health News



Small Efforts Can Boost Use of Public Parks

Small Efforts Can Boost Use of Public Parks

10/18/13

FRIDAY, Oct. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Even small marketing efforts at parks can have an effect on the health fitness of local communities, according to a new study.

Minor improvements to signage and visual reminders about park activities are a cost-effective way to increase park usage and boost physical activity, researchers found.

"The study shows that environmental cues influence and change individual behavior, including physical behavior," study lead author Dr. Deborah Cohen, a senior natural scientist at the nonprofit research organization RAND Corp., said in a news release.

"When physical-activity opportunities and reminders become more obvious -- whether they are overt signs or notices for classes or new walking paths -- they may lead people to becoming more active, especially if they are already in a park," Cohen said.

The study involved 50 parks in Los Angeles that had a recreation center and a full-time staff. The parks were divided into three groups. In the first group, each park director was given $4,000 to spend on marketing or outreach programs. They also collaborated with the researchers to figure out how to attract more people and boost their level of physical activity.

In the second group, the research team worked with each park director and an existing local park advisory board to compile information on park usage and determine how to use their marketing budgets. The third group of parks received no additional support in developing a new marketing or outreach program.

Each park was then monitored to assess the physical-activity levels of the people who used it from 2007 to 2012. The researchers found that just small increases in marketing strategies increased physical activity by 7 percent to 12 percent during the course of the study, compared to parks that didn't make any changes to their outreach efforts.

Among the parks that received funding, most of the money was spent on signage improvements that encouraged people to engage in park-sponsored activities. The researchers said there wasn't a significant difference in the increase in physical activity between the parks that collaborated with an advisory board and those that did not.

The study, which was published online Oct. 17 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, showed that the biggest increase in activity was among those who already used the park. The researchers concluded that adding more signs and reminders in areas outside the park could help bring new people to the park.

Although most Americans have access to a network of parks and recreation facilities where they can exercise, the researchers said most do not meet the recommended 150 minutes of weekly physical activity.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more information on the health benefits of exercise.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

OF INTEREST:
 

Latest News

Crouse Hospital Appoints Chief Information Officer
more >

MedEx Bedside Prescription Delivery Service

Free service offers convenience, patient education at discharge.
more >

CrouseSports Express After-Hours Ortho Care

Immediate care of orthopedic injuries in kids and adults.
more >

Weight Loss Surgery

Is it right for you? Attend a free information seminar held twice monthly.
more >

Quality at Crouse

See how Crouse Hospital strives to provide the best in patient care.
more >

Cheer Up That Special Someone

Say get well or welcome a new arrival with a gift purchased right at Crouse.

more >

Make an Online Donation Now

Your donation of any amount helps support Crouse services & programs in a meaningful way.
more >

Shop Online Now

Say get well, thinking of you or welcome new baby with a unique gift from the Crouse Gift Shop.

more >