Associations between green space availability and youth’s physical activity in urban and rural areas across Germany

Carina Nigg*, Janis Fiedler, Alexander Burchartz, Markus Reichert, Claudia Niessner, Alexander Woll, Jasper Schipperijn


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Green space may be an important physical activity facilitator for children and adolescents. However, to date, most studies focused on urban green space, and few studies investigated associations between green space and physical activity across urban and rural areas, which was the goal of this study. Data were obtained from a German cohort study, including 1,211 youth aged 6–17 years. Residential green space was assessed within a 1000 m street-network buffer using land cover and land use data and divided into quartiles, urbanicity using the European Urbanization Degree, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) using accelerometers. Associations were investigated via linear regression analysis stratified by urbanicity degree, controlling for relevant confounders. We found that in rural areas, compared to youth in the bottom green quartile, those within the middle (2nd) and upper (3rd) green quartiles engaged in less MVPA. This relationship was not observed for youth in towns and cities. Interactions occurred between green space and socio-demographic characteristics for children and adolescents in cities: Compared to the bottom green quartile, boys or younger children within the middle green quartile engaged in more MVPA. However, socially disadvantaged children and adolescents in cities engaged in less MVPA in the upper compared to the bottom green quartile. Our results show that associations between green space and MVPA do not only differ between urban and rural areas but also among youth sub-populations. These findings are important to consider for planning policies to create inclusive active living environments across urban and rural areas.
TidsskriftLandscape and Urban Planning
Antal sider9
StatusUdgivet - jul. 2024


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