Urban Park Development and Pediatric Obesity Rates: A Quasi-Experiment Using Electronic Health Record Data. Academic Article uri icon


  • INTRODUCTION: Childhood obesity affects ~20% of children in the United States. Environmental influences, such as parks, are linked with increased physical activity (PA). OBJECTIVE: To examine whether changes in Body Mass Index (BMI) z-score were associated with construction of a new park. METHODS: A quasi-experimental design was used to determine whether living in proximity of a park was associated with a reduction in BMI z-score. Children were selected from health clinics within an 11 mile radius of the park. A repeated-measure ANOVA was employed for analysis of the relationship between exposure (new park) and BMI z-score. RESULTS: Participants were 1443 (median age 10.3 range (2-17.9 years), BMI: z-score 0.84 1.09) African American (77.4%) adolescents. Change in BMI z-score was not statistically different for children living at different distances from the park after controlling for age, gender, race, ethnicity, or payer type (p = 0.4482). We did observe a small 0.03 increase in BMI z-score from pre- to post-park (p = 0.0007). There was a significant positive association between child's baseline age and BMI z-score (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: This study found proximity to a park was not associated with reductions in BMI z-score. Additional efforts to understand the complex relationship between park proximity, access, and PA are warranted.

published proceedings

  • Int J Environ Res Public Health

altmetric score

  • 5.6

author list (cited authors)

  • Goldsby, T. U., George, B. J., Yeager, V. A., Sen, B. P., Ferdinand, A., Sims, D., ... Menachemi, N.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Goldsby, TaShauna U||George, Brandon J||Yeager, Valerie A||Sen, Bisakha P||Ferdinand, Alva||Sims, Devon MT||Manzella, Bryn||Cockrell Skinner, Asheley||Allison, David B||Menachemi, Nir

publication date

  • April 2016