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Physical activity in parks can be boosted by modest marketing
Date:10/19/2013

park advisory boards composed of community members would help improve the decisions made by park directors.

To conduct the project, 50 parks in the City of Los Angeles that included a recreation center and full-time staff were randomized into three groups. In the first group, the park director worked with the research team to determine how to attract more park users and increase physical activity. The research project made $4,000 available to each park for marketing, outreach and programming activities.

In the second group, the research team worked with the park director and an existing local park advisory board to collect and analyze information about park usage and decide how to spend the marketing funds. The third group of parks did not receive any additional help.

In both groups, most of the money was spent on improving signage that encouraged people to participate in park-sponsored activities. Each park was monitored to assess the characteristics of the park and its users, including physical activity levels. The study period ran from 2007 to 2012.

Among the parks that received project funding, there was no substantial difference in the amount of additional physical activity observed between those that involved park advisory boards and those that didn't.

Researchers say most of the increase in activity appeared to be concentrated among existing park users, suggesting that putting reminders and signs in areas outside the park may be necessary to recruit new users to the park.


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Contact: Warren Robak
robak@rand.org
310-451-6913
RAND Corporation
Source:Eurekalert

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