Playground Choices Vary among Students

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February 8, 2015

Children are more active on grassy areas and designated playgrounds than on plain paved lots, a study has found.

The Danish study of 316 students in grades 5–8 also found that overall, girls were more sedentary than boys during play times.

The study set out to map the students' level of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

The study equipped the students with GPS devices and accelerometers during a total of 1,784 recess periods, recording during two days and four separate recess periods per student.

Play areas included open grassy areas, natural areas containing trees and shrubs, sand or gravel areas that included play equipment, paved multicourt areas that were designed for ball games like basketball and soccer, and paved areas that contained no play equipment or markings for games.

The first two preferences of boys for MVPA were the areas with playground equipment and the grassy areas. The top two choices were reversed for girls.

Multicourt areas proved a bit more attractive to boys and girls than the areas of trees and shrubs. Unadorned lots paved with asphalt or concrete proved the least attractive for both boys and girls.

The findings appeared in the February 2015 issue of the journal Landscape and Urban Planning.

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