Measuring Physical Activity in Outdoor Community Recreational Environments: Implications for Research, Policy, and Practice.

Academic Article


  • Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) are major contributors to escalating health care costs in the USA. Physical activity is an important protective factor against CVD, and the National Prevention Strategy recognizes active living (defined as a way of life that integrates physical activity into everyday routines) as a priority for improving the nation's health. This paper focuses on developing more inclusive measures of physical activity in outdoor community recreational environments, specifically parks and trails, to enhance their usability for at-risk populations such as persons with mobility limitations. We develop an integrated conceptual framework for measuring physical activity in outdoor community recreational environments, describe examples of evidence-based tools for measuring physical activity in these settings, and discuss strategies to improve measurement of physical activity for persons with mobility limitations. Addressing these measurement issues is critically important to making progress towards national CVD goals pertaining to active community environments.
  • Authors

  • Aytur, Semra
  • Jones, Sydney A
  • Stransky, Michelle
  • Evenson, Kelly R
  • Status

    Publication Date

  • January 2015
  • Published In


  • Active living
  • Disability
  • GIS
  • Measurement
  • Mobility limitations
  • Parks
  • Physical activity
  • Trails
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Start Page

  • 423
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 1