Randomized informational intervention and adult park use and park-based physical activity in low-income, racially diverse urban neighborhoods

Noah Wexler, Yingling Fan, Kirti V Das, Simone French

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Neighborhood parks are important locations to encourage and stimulate physical activity (PA) among the urban population. This study aims to evaluate the impact of an informational intervention on adult park use and PA behaviors in 3 low-income, racially diverse urban neighborhoods in Minneapolis, MN.

METHOD: The study employed a household-level randomized controlled trial and collected baseline and follow-up data from 171 participants. Within each neighborhood, participants were randomized to an informational intervention or to a no-intervention comparison. Intervention households received monthly, neighborhood-specific newsletters about park-based PA opportunities, park program brochures, trail maps, and activity guides.

RESULTS: The average treatment effect of the newsletter intervention was positive yet moderated by respondent age. For a 20-year-old resident, treatment was associated with 0.97 (P < .05) additional park visits and 31.24 (P < .05) additional minutes of park-based PA over a 3-day recall period. For 40-year-old respondents, these positive effects are smaller at 0.36 (P < .05) additional visits and 4.66 (P < .05) additional minutes, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: An intervention to increase awareness about park-based PA opportunities and benefits increased self-reported park visits and in-park PA among adults who lived in low-income, racially diverse neighborhoods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)920-928
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Physical Activity and Health
Issue number8
Early online dateJun 2 2021
StatePublished - Aug 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board for their help in informing, designing, and translating the outreach materials provided to the treatment group. Additionally, the authors would like to thank the Children, Youth, and Families Consortium, the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, and the Obesity Prevention Center at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities for providing funding support. The authors have no conflict of interest disclosures.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Human Kinetics, Inc.


  • Active recreation
  • Built environment
  • Intervention study
  • Municipal parks
  • Outdoor space

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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