Access to parks and recreational facilities, physical activity, and health care costs for older adults: Evidence from U.S. counties

Mikihiro Sato, Yuhei Inoue, James Du, Daniel C. Funk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although research has documented the health benefits of physical activity and use of park and recreational facilities, the relationships of these factors to healthcare costs remain unexplored at the population level. Building upon a social-ecological model, we analyzed county-level data to examine the extent to which physical activity rate and access to parks and recreational facilities were related to the healthcare costs for older adults (i.e., those 65 years and above) in U.S. counties. The results revealed that older adults’ physical activity rate in a county was negatively associated with the county’s healthcare costs of these adults. Also, access to parks and recreational facilities was negatively associated with older adults’ healthcare costs through the physical activity rate. These findings indicate that access to parks and recreational facilities correlates with increased physical activity levels among older adults, which might reduce their healthcare costs in communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)220-238
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Leisure Research
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 27 2019

Keywords

  • Physical activity
  • aging
  • exercise
  • health
  • parks
  • recreation

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