Users characteristics of a park-based physical activity promotion in an urban context
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University of Bologna Department of Biomedical and Neuromotor Sciences Italy
University of Bologna Department of Life Quality Studies Italy
AUSL di Bologna Department of Public Health Italy
Municipality of Bologna Culture and City Promotion Department Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A896
Physical Activity (PA) provides several benefits to human health. More than 25% of people worldwide are estimated not to comply with the World Health Organization recommendations on PA. Urban living is linked to sedentary lifestyles. Some aspects of the built environment, such as public greenness, may nudge residents’ PA levels. The aim of the study was to assess the typical user profile of the “Moving Parks” project, a park-based PA promotion intervention.

The “Moving parks” project took place during summer in the public parks of Bologna (Italy). The project was created by the Local Health Authority and the Municipality of Bologna. Different types of activities were proposed, free-of-charge, twice-a-week and managed by qualified instructors. A questionnaire was proposed at the beginning of the intervention period. The variables collected involved participants’ socio-demographic information, PA habits and psychological/general wellbeing, assessed through the Psychological General Well Being Index - Short version (PGWB-S).

In 2022, a total of 568 participants were involved in the project, 85% were women. The 23%(n=133) of participants were younger than 35, 55%(n=314) were 35-to-64 and 21%(n=121) were older than 64. Moreover, n=54(10%) respondents had an educational level lower than a high-school degree, n=198(35%) had a high-school degree and n=313(55%) had a university degree. PA was already a habit in the 74% of the respondents, and 41% declared to perfomr regular vigorous PA. The PGWB-S composite mean score was 3.49(SD 0.71).

This study highlights that most of citizens that participated to this intervention were females, highly educated and already physically active. Since built environment is experienced differently by genders, and green spaces are less used by women, this project suggests that group-activities may nudge a more gender-inclusive use of public parks. Further adjustments are needed to promote this type of interventions to reach more sedentary citizens.

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