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Previous studies have reported mixed findings on the relationship between park proximity and recreational physical activity (PA), which could be explained by park quality and the surrounding neighborhood environment. We examined whether park quality and perceptions of the neighborhood physical and social environment moderated associations between park proximity and recreational PA among mid-older aged adults. Cross-sectional self-reported data on park proximity, park quality, neighborhood physical and social environmental factors, recreational walking and other moderate- to vigorous-intensity recreational physical activity (MVPA) were collected among 2700 Australian adults (57–69 years) in 2012. Main effects between park proximity and measures of recreational PA were non-significant. Park proximity was positively related to engagement in recreational walking among participants who reported average and high social trust and cohesion, but not among those reporting low social trust and cohesion. No other moderating effects were observed. Current findings suggest synergistic relationships between park proximity and social trust and cohesion with mid-older aged adults’ recreational walking. More research is needed to unravel the complex relationship between parks, recreational PA and the social context of neighborhoods.


Mary MacKillop Institute for Health Research

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Journal Article

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