This descriptive study explored the potential for public parks and recreation centers as intervention sites for promoting physical activity among youth. Directors (55% women) of 44 recreation centers in San Diego County completed a survey of their centers' physical activity programming for youths ages 3 to 17 years (response rate = 60%). On an average weekday, 373 (SD = 782) youths participated in physical activity at a center. More boys attended than girls (p <.05). Some centers sponsored after-school programs at elementary (41%) and middle (11%) schools but not at high schools (0%). Primary barriers to providing physical activity programs were inadequate staffing (54%), funding (39%), and facilities (32%). Girls and low-income youth were identified as the most difficult populations to reach. Directors reported considerable interest in collaborating on interventions to improve youth activity programs. Public parks and recreation centers are understudied settings with the potential for substantial involvement in efforts to promote youth physical activity.
View details for PubMedID 15358916