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Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine


The presence of youth physical activity opportunities is one of the strongest environmental correlates of youth physical activity. More detailed information about such opportunities is needed to maximize their contributions to physical activity promotion especially in under resourced, lower income areas. The objectives of this study were to construct a comprehensive profile of youth physical activity opportunities and contrast profile characteristics between lower and higher income neighborhoods. Youth physical activity opportunities in eight lower (median household income <$36,000) and eight higher (>$36,000) income neighborhoods were identified and described using interviews, neighborhood tours, site visits, and systematic searches of various sources (e.g., Internet). Lower income neighborhoods had a greater number of locations offering youth physical activity opportunities but similar quantities of amenities. Lower income neighborhoods had more faith-based locations and court, trail/path, event, and water-type amenities. Higher income neighborhoods had significantly more for-profit businesses offering youth physical activity opportunities. Funding for youth physical activity opportunities in lower income neighborhoods was more likely to come from donations and government revenue (e.g., taxes), whereas the majority of youth physical activity opportunities in the higher income neighborhoods were supported by for-profit business revenue. Differences between lower and higher income neighborhoods in the type and amenities of youth physical activity opportunities may be driven by funding sources. Attention to these differences could help create more effective and efficient strategies for promoting physical activity among youth.



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physical activity, child, youth, environment, social class