Measurement of Park and Recreation Environments that Support Physical Activity in Low-Income Communities of Color

This article critiques recently developed measures to assess the relationship between parks and recreation areas and physical fitness. Limited access to recreational facilities may be linked to higher rates of obesity in low-income communities of color.

The authors first examine challenges of measuring this relationship and then provide recommendations to strengthen research in this area.


  • Measurement tools should identify the most important needs relating to the physical environment in low-income communities of color.
  • Research should incorporate recently developed measures that identify preferred types and locations of recreational activity.
  • Researchers should involve residents of low-income communities of color in the development of measures for parks and recreation.

High-quality tools to measure the relationship between recreational areas and physical activity have been developed and now must be honed to better assess conditions specific to low-income communities of color.