Assessment of active play, inactivity and perceived barriers in an inner city neighborhood

Gregg Kottyan, Leah Kottyan, Nicholas M. Edwards, Ndidi I. Unaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Avondale, a disadvantaged neighborhood in Cincinnati, lags behind on a number of indicators of child well-being. Childhood obesity has become increasingly prevalent, as one-third of Avondale's kindergarteners are obese or overweight. The study objective was to determine perceptions of the quantity of and obstacles to childhood physical activity in the Avondale community. Caregivers of children from two elementary schools were surveyed to assess their child's physical activity and barriers to being active. Three hundred and forty surveys were returned out of 1,047 for a response rate of 32 %. On school days, 41 % of caregivers reported that their children spent more than 2 h watching television, playing video games, or spending time on the computer. While over half of respondents reported that their children get more than 2 h of physical activity on school days, 14 % of children were reported to be physically active less than 1 h per day. Caregivers identified violence, cost of extracurricular activities, and lack of organized activities as barriers to their child's physical activity. The overwhelming majority of caregivers expressed interest in a program to make local playgrounds safer. In conclusion, children in Avondale are not participating in enough physical activity and are exposed to more screen time than is recommended by the AAP. Safety concerns were identified as a critical barrier to address in future advocacy efforts in this community. This project represents an important step toward increasing the physical activity of children in Avondale and engaging the local community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)538-544
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The analyses presented are based upon data collected through an advocacy project called Avondale Moves! (www. Avondale Moves! is an organization dedicated to increasing safe, active play in Avondale’s youth and was founded by a pediatrics resident at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Avondale Moves! strongly endorses the 5-2-1-0 program from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) [22, 23]. The program involves eating 5 fruits or vegetables, watching less than 2 h of TV, exercising for 1 h or more, and drinking 0 sugary drinks every day [23]. Avondale Moves! is funded by a Resident Community Access to Child Health (CATCH) grant through the AAP. This study was approved by the CCHMC institutional review board and the Cincinnati Public Schools research approval committee.


  • 5-2-1-0
  • Advocacy
  • Community engagement
  • Physical activity


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