Urban Park Development and Pediatric Obesity Rates: A Quasi-Experiment Using Electronic Health Record Data.
INTRODUCTION: Childhood obesity affects ~20% of children in the United States. Environmental influences, such as parks, are linked with increased physical activity (PA). OBJECTIVE: To examine whether changes in Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score were associated with construction of a new park. METHODS: A quasi-experimental design was used to determine whether living in proximity of a park was associated with a reduction in BMI z-score. Children were selected from health clinics within an 11 mile radius of the park. A repeated-measure ANOVA was employed for analysis of the relationship between exposure (new park) and BMI z-score. RESULTS: Participants were 1443 (median age 10.3 range (2-17.9 years), BMI: z-score 0.84 ± 1.09) African American (77.4%) adolescents. Change in BMI z-score was not statistically different for children living at different distances from the park after controlling for age, gender, race, ethnicity, or payer type (p = 0.4482). We did observe a small 0.03 increase in BMI z-score from pre- to post-park (p = 0.0007). There was a significant positive association between child's baseline age and BMI z-score (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study found proximity to a park was not associated with reductions in BMI z-score. Additional efforts to understand the complex relationship between park proximity, access, and PA are warranted.
Goldsby, TU; George, BJ; Yeager, VA; Sen, BP; Ferdinand, A; Sims, DMT; Manzella, B; Cockrell Skinner, A; Allison, DB; Menachemi, N
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