There has been considerable progress in the development of measurement tools to assess the capacity of parks and other recreational environments that support physical activity. However, most of these first generation measures are extremely long and require time-intensive data collection efforts, which can restrict sample sizes for research studies, and limit their application to advocacy organizations and others interested in measuring these settings. There is also a lack of evidence on how well these measures are related to physical activity. Furthermore, there is a lack of validated measures of policies that govern built environments, as well as measures of parks and trails designed for special populations, such as youth and rural populations, and the need for future instruments to be developed to address the needs and conditions of low-income minority communities. There is also a need to test the feasibility of gathering this information from special populations, such as low-income minority youth and youth living in rural communities. As such, we propose to try and answer the following research questions: 1) Where are low-income minority youth and youth living in rural communities likely to be physically active?;and 2) What features of these settings are important for encouraging/promoting youth physical activity among these groups? The primary contribution of this proposed study will be to develop and test the feasibility, reliability and validity of survey instruments and built environment data collection methods for youth and their parents located in low-income urban neighborhoods of color and in rural areas. We will accomplish this by developing and initiating a pilot project to examine the importance of school and community physical activity settings and opportunities on youth physical activity levels, overweight and obesity. The study will be implemented in 6 elementary schools;three will be located in Chicago and three in surrounding small rural communities. The intent of the pilot study is to examine the direct impact of individual and contextual factors on measures of BMI and ovenweight status, as well as their indirect influence on these outcomes via their effect on intermediary behaviors related to physical activity behaviors. The results from this study will then help identify target areas for future policy interventions or built environment infrastructure improvements to increase youth physical activity and/or reduce oven/veight and obesity that could be explored in a larger R01 study.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD)
Research Transition Award (R00)
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Special Emphasis Panel (NSS)
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Haverkos, Lynne
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University of Illinois at Chicago
Schools of Public Health
United States
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Slater, Sandy; Chriqui, Jamie; Chaloupka, Frank J et al. (2014) Joint use policies: are they related to adolescent behavior? Prev Med 69 Suppl 1:S37-43