Adolescents should engage in 60 min of physical activity daily in order to obtain health benefits. Creating environments supportive for physical activity, could be a valuable strategy to increase physical activity at the population level. The purpose of this study was to understand the relative importance of park characteristics for park visitation and park-based physical activity among adolescents, using manipulated photographs of parks. Participants (n = 1197) were asked to perform two sets of ten choice tasks. For each choice task, a choice had to be made between two photographs of a park where ten characteristics were manipulated: naturalness, upkeep, walking paths, outdoor fitness equipment/playground, sport field, benches, drinking fountain, peers, mother with children and homeless person. In the first set of choice tasks participants had to select the park most inviting for visitation, in the second, they had to select the park most inviting for physical activity. Hierarchical Bayes Estimations were used to calculate (1) average utilities that represent the desirability of each level within a characteristic and (2) importance scores which reflect the effect each park characteristic had on the choice. The results indicate that park upkeep was the most important characteristic for park visitation and physical activity followed by the presence of playground/outdoor fitness equipment and sport fields. Policymakers could ensure that parks are well maintained, have sport fields and outdoor fitness equipment in order to meet adolescents’ needs. Evaluation of such initiatives can confirm whether these park characteristics will influence actual adolescent park visitation and park-based physical activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-155
Number of pages12
JournalLandscape and Urban Planning
Issue number000
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • Active living, Adolescence, Park design, Public open spaces, Recreation

ID: 39502214