Neighborhood outdoor play of White and Non-White Hispanic children: Cultural differences and environmental disparities
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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. A continued decrease in outdoor play time among children has contributed to the decline in their overall physical activity levels. Creating safe and supportive neighborhood environments for outdoor play can help promote physical activity especially among children lacking private play areas. Further, children from different cultural backgrounds may be influenced by different factors when deciding if or where to play. This paper examines differences in outdoor play patterns and locations, and their correlates between Hispanic and non-Hispanic White children. A total of 3449 elementary school students (69.3% Hispanic) were recruited in 2010 from 20 schools in the Austin Independent School District, Texas. Using the data collected from their parental survey, two multivariable linear regression models were estimated to identify correlates of outdoor play time for each ethnic group. Hispanic children used fewer types of places to play outdoors but for more minutes/weekday. A high residential density appeared as a facilitator among White children, while a connected street pattern (more intersections/crossings) functioned as a barrier among Hispanic children. Neighborhood safety, destinations, and land uses were important in both ethnic groups, but differences were found in the specific associations. Findings suggest that intervention strategies to promote outdoor play should respond to the specific needs, preferences, and external constraints of children from different cultural backgrounds. The strategies should also be tailored to provide safer places for Hispanic children. This proposes public participation from diverse ethnic groups in processes of planning and infrastructure decision-making to reflect different preferences and achieve equitable access to health-supportive resources.
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