Environmental Change

Initiative Description: Provide access to an Open schoolyard after schools and on the weekends. It included an installed play structure with impact-absorbent surfacing, large paved areas in which basketball hoops were stationed and a 4-square court was painted, and an open grassy field. The research project provided and maintained ample sports equipment such as footballs, basketballs, playground balls, hula hoops, jump ropes, Frisbees, and parachutes. A compact disk player and radio was also provided to supply music for dancing, and a sprinkler was installed during the summer months.

Study Results: When observed, 66% of these children were physically active. The number of children who were outdoors and physically active was 84% higher in the intervention neighborhood than the comparison neighborhood. Survey results showed that children in the intervention school reported declines relative to the children in the comparison school in watching television, watching movies and DVDs, and playing video games on weekdays.

Reference: Farley, Thomas A,M.D., M.P.H., Meriwether, Rebecca A,M.D., M.P.H., Baker, E. T., M.S., Watkins, L. T., M.A., Johnson, C. C., PhD., & Webber, L. S., PhD. (2007). Safe play spaces to promote physical activity in inner-city children: Results from a pilot study of an environmental intervention. American Journal of Public Health, 97(9), 1625-31.

Level of Evidence: 3 out of 5 stars Very Good