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Association of access to parks and recreational facilities with the physical activity of young children

Abstract: Objective.To determine associations of the neighborhood and home television environments with young children’s physical activity.Method.32 boys and 27 girls age 4 to 7 years wore accelerometers for 3 weekdays and 1 weekend day. The number of televisions in the home and television watching of the child were monitored using TV Allowance™units for 3 weeks. A geographic information system was used to measure neighborhood environment variables.Results.Hierarchical regression analysis was used to predict physical activity, initially controlling for sex, age, socioeconomic status, adiposity,and child television watching in step 1. In step 2, the number of televisions did not significantly increase the amount of variability accounted for in the prediction of physical activity. In step 3, housing density and the interaction of housing density by sex accounted for an incremental 12%(p<0.05) of the variability and in step 4 percentage park plus recreation area accounted for a further 10% (p<0.05) of the variability. Greater housing density predicted increased physical activity of boys, but not girls.Conclusion.Neighborhoods with increased proximity between homes and a greater proportion of park area are associated with greater physical activity in young children

Central city socio-economic characteristics and public participation strategies: A comparative analysis of the Niagara region’s municipalities in the U.S. and Canada, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

Purpose – This article aims to examine the mechanisms used by municipalities to stimulate public participation and, in part, to argue that contrasts between the socio-economic make-up of central cities in the USA and Canada explain these divergent techniques. Design/methodology/approach – The article is based on a survey of planning departments measuring the types of public participation strategies used by local governments. Findings – The article’s findings indicate that Canadian municipalities adopt a broader range of public participation techniques related to: voluntarism and public engagement, neighborhood and strategic planning, and e-government. In contrast, the article’s findings indicate that US municipalities are more likely to promote public participation through mechanisms such as annual community meetings and referendums on public issues. Research limitations/implications – The conclusion of the article offers recommendations for expanding the scope of public participation and developing strategies that maximize citizen input in community development activities in both countries. Practical implications – The survey was conducted to identify the scope of public participation techniques used by local governments in the Niagara region. One limitation of this methodology is that it does not gauge the effectiveness of the participation techniques used by local governments or the intensity of public engagement. However, the results from this study provide future researchers with a mechanism for focusing future analysis. Originality/value – The findings can assist in identifying new directions for enhancing public participation in the USA and Canada.