Utilization and Physical Activity Levels at Renovated and Unrenovated School Playgrounds

This article examines whether renovated and unrenovated playgrounds have different levels of use and activity. There is a relatively small body of research on the impact of the built environment on children's physical activity.

Researchers visited 10 renovated and 10 unrenovated playgrounds in Cleveland, Ohio to track levels of attendance and physical activity at each playground. The researchers conducted paired t-tests, Wilcoxon Signed Rank tests, and regression analyses to identify differences between the sets of playgrounds.

Key Findings:

  • More adults and children spent time at the renovated playgrounds than at the unrenovated playgrounds.
  • Vigorous play, especially among boys, was more common at renovated playgrounds. However, moderate to vigorous play levels were not different between playgrounds.
  • Absolute levels of use of playgrounds were low at all playgrounds, regardless of renovation status.

Renovated playgrounds may help increase the level and intensity of physical activity among children.