Lack of Parks and Open Space Means Less Physical Activity for Californians, California Health Interview Survey Finds

How does the community environment influence health status and access: The California Health Interview Survey

Between 2002 and 2005, E. Richard Brown, PhD, led a team of researchers in fielding a new Housing and Neighborhood Environment module as part of the 2003 California Health Interview Survey (CHIS).

The team surveyed 42,044 people between August 8, 2003, and February 29, 2004, collecting information on their social, physical and housing environments, analyzing their responses, and disseminating the findings.

People all over the country use the CHIS 2003 data set. It is made available to communities in California for their planning and advocacy purposes.

Key Results

  • The California Health Interview Survey website includes information about CHIS 2003 questions, methodology, sample design, findings and policy implications.

Key Findings

  • In an average week, one in four California adults does not walk at all for transportation or leisure and nearly half walk less than one hour total.

  • Living near a park helps increase activity among teens, especially those in low-income communities. However, one out of four California adolescents has no access to a safe park, playground or open space for physical activity.