Parental perceived built environment measures and active play in Washington DC metropolitan children

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Objective: Previous research identified associations between perceived built environment and adult physical activity; however, fewer studies have explored associations in children. The Built Environment and Active Play (BEAP) Study examined relationships between children's active play and parental perceptions of home neighborhood built environments within the Washington, DC metropolitan area (DMV). Methods: With this cross-sectional study, a questionnaire was administered in 2014 to parents of children (7-12 years old) residing in the DMV. Data were collected on children's active play, home built environment parental perceptions, and demographics. Active play response data were dichotomized by whether the child did or did not meet the 60-min/day Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PAGAs) recommendation. Perceived home neighborhood built environment data were also dichotomized. Chi-square tests determined differences in parental perceived built environment measures between active and non-active child groups. Logistic regression assessed the association of parental perceived built environment variables with active play while adjusting for demographic variables. Results: The BEAP Study population (n = 144) included a uniquely diverse population of children with 23.7% African Americans and 10.4% Asian Americans. A statistically significant greater proportion of active children's parents agreed with the importance of neighborhood esthetics, active play areas, walkability and safety as compared to the parents of non-active children. Fully adjusted logistic regression models demonstrated that some parental perceived built environment measures (e.g. access to play equipment) were predictors of their children meeting the 60-min/day PAGA recommendation. Conclusion: Our findings support the important role of home neighborhood built environment perceptions on childhood active play.




Roberts, J. D., Knight, B., Ray, R., & Saelens, B. E. (2016). Parental perceived built environment measures and active play in Washington DC metropolitan children. Preventive Medicine Reports, 3, 373–378.

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