What we build makes a difference – Mapping activating schoolyard features after renewal using GIS, GPS and accelerometers

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Schoolyard renewal can increase physical activity during recess, but it remains unclear how features and layout can promote physical activity for both genders. This paper aims to investigate physical activity in renewed schoolyards. Three Danish schools were selected for this exploratory case study. The intervention areas consisted primarily of a large asphalt area with few features. Extensive changes were made to the schoolyard layouts involving adding innovative features tailored to the local needs. In total, 349 students (grade 4–9) at baseline (spring 2014) and 300 students (grade 4–9) following renewal (spring 2016) were asked to wear an accelerometer (ActiGraph GT3X) and a GPS (Qstarz BT-Q1000XT) during five school days. Total time and proportions of time spent sedentary, in light (LPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) were calculated per area, by gender. Spatial clusters of high and low physical activity spots were found using hot-spot analyses in ArcGIS and more activity-spots were identified after renewal in the asphalt area. At two schools, time and physical activity increased in the renewed area, but for one school they decreased. The percentage of time spent in MVPA and LPA only increased in the renewed area at school 1, while the percentage of time and PA decreased in the intervention area at school 3 after renewal. Courts for ballgames, foursquare markings and hills generated activity spots for both genders. Girls were active at a large screen for dancing activities, a lowered multi-court, a spider-web climbing structure and in an area with big tree stumps whereas the boys were active in-between features and on an obstacle trail. These findings emphasize the importance of providing a schoolyard with a variety of functional features close to each other when building activating schoolyards for both genders.

TidsskriftLandscape and Urban Planning
StatusUdgivet - nov. 2019

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