Examining Access to Recreational Facilities in Danville, Virginia

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Virginia Tech


Obesity is a growing issue in the United States, and it affects millions of people. Obesity-related illness accounts for billions of dollars in medical expenses each year, heightening the need for prevention and intervention strategies. Physical activity is essential in maintaining a healthy weight, yet population groups have unequal access to physical activity opportunities. This research utilizes an environmental justice framework to examine variations in access and quality of recreational facilities among different socio-demographic groups in Danville, VA. Data for this research include secondary and primary sources. Race data were obtained from the 2010 U.S. Census. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) tool was utilized to audit all recreational facilities within the City of Danville for features, amenities, and incivilities. Telephone survey data provided individual level-BMI, physical activity minutes per week, and variables of socioeconomic status, including income, education attainment, employment status, and gender. Analysis included ANOVAs, linear, and bivariate logistic regression. Predominant block group race was a significant predictor of incivilities at physical activity outlets. Proximity to recreational facilities was not a predictor of physical activity or BMI. Interventions must be made to improve the quality of recreational facilities in black or African American block groups.



environmental justice, physical activity, access, Obesity, parks, medical geography