Quality of public urban parks for physical activity practice in Bucaramanga, Colombia

<div><p>Abstract The characteristics of parks (availability, accessibility, conservation, quality, safety, etc.) are important predictors of their use for physical activity practices. The aim of this study was to verify the association among the socioeconomic level of neighborhoods, the characteristics and quality of urban public parks for physical activity in Bucaramanga, Colombia. Cross-sectional study, conducted in 2015, in which 10 parks with structures for physical activity were evaluated. The socioeconomic level of the district was evaluated based on the neighborhoods around the parks and classified in “low” and “high”. The number of residents in the surrounding area of parks were evaluated with Geographic Information System (GIS), site characteristics and quality with the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) and the Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA), respectively. The association was analyzed with Mann Whitney U test and Spearman correlation (rho) on STATA 14 and the significance level was maintained at 5%. A positive association was found between the socioeconomic level and the presence of walking paths (marginal, p=0.056), accessibility (rho=0.875; p=0.001) and general quality of parks (rho=0.657; p=0.039). The low socioeconomic level was associated with the presence of sports courts (p=0.032). These results can guide the actions of public managers for the modification of the built environment and structures of the parks for physical activity.</p></div>