Rail trails are elements of the built environment that support the Task Force on Community Preventive Services' recommendation to create, or enhance access to, places for physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between sociodemographic characteristics and perceptions of the built environment with the frequency, type, and duration of PA among users of an urban, paved rail trail segment.
Interviewers conducted intercept surveys with 431 rail trail users and analyzed data by using logistic regression to estimate odds ratios between sociodemographic characteristics and perceptions of the built environment on the frequency, type, and duration of PA performed on the trail.
Adults who used the trail in the cool months, traveled to the trail by a motorized vehicle, used the trail with others, and had some graduate school education visited the trail less often. Younger adults, men, whites, and those with some graduate school education were more likely to engage in vigorous activities on the trail. Adults who traveled to the trail by a motorized vehicle spent more time engaged in PA on the trail.
Our results suggest that the most frequent users of a rail trail for PA are those who use the trail alone and travel to the trail by bicycle or on foot. Trails are an aspect of the built environment that supports active lifestyles, and future studies should evaluate different types of trails among more diverse populations and locations.
Maslow, A. L., Reed, J. A., Price, A. E., & Hooker, S. P. (2012). Associations between sociodemographic characteristics and perceptions of the built environment with the frequency, type, and duration of physical activity among trail users. Preventing Chronic Disease, 9(110114). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd9.110114
Prevention of Chronic Disease
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention