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Abstracts of the 2019 Annual Conference of the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology, August 25-28 2019, Utrecht, the Netherlands

Impact of a riverside accessibility intervention on use, physical activity, and wellbeing: A mixed methods pre-post evaluation

C, Vert Roca1,,2,,3; G, Carrasco-Turigas1,,2,,3; W, Zijlema1,,2,,3; A, Espinosa1,,2,,3,,4; L, Cano-Riu1,,2,,3; L, R. Elliott5; J, Litt6; M, J Nieuwenhuijsen1,,2,,3; M, Gascon1,,2,,3

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Environmental Epidemiology: October 2019 - Volume 3 - Issue - p 413
doi: 10.1097/01.EE9.0000610628.23454.b4
  • Open

TPS 701: Spatial determinants of population health, Exhibition Hall, Ground floor, August 27, 2019, 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Introduction: Access to natural outdoor environments and parks can promote physical activity, social cohesion, and improved psychological well-being. In 2016, an urban riverside regeneration project was conducted in a socioeconomically-deprived neighbourhood in a city near Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) which aimed to facilitate access to the riverbank for pedestrians and cyclists. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the effect of this intervention in terms of changes in use and physical activity of users over time. We also assessed the local community’s use and perception of the urban riverside, and their corresponding self-perceived health and well-being over time.

Methods: We conducted systematic observations, before and after the intervention, using the System for Observing Parks and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) to quantify the use and physical activity levels of users and compared them over time. Qualitative assessment consisted of semi-structured face-to-face interviews with the local community [N(pre)=17; N(post)=6].

Results: We observed a 25% increase in users of the renovated area of the river after the intervention. There was an increase in sedentary users and those engaged in moderate levels of physical activity [from 7.7% to.12.0% sedentary users, and from 66.9% to 68.7% moderately active users before and after the intervention respectively, p<0.001]. The growth of users in the renovated area was mainly driven by females, adults, children, and the non-Caucasian population. Resident interviewees, in general, reported to be happy to live near the river and thought it might benefit their health and well-being. Overall, residents seemed satisfied with the intervention.

Conclusions: Nature-based interventions in socioeconomically-deprived neighborhoods might reduce inequalities in access to natural areas for deprived communities, thereby creating attractive destinations for residents, promoting physical activity and/or creating opportunities for social interactions, and thus improving their health and well-being.

Copyright © 2019 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on behalf of Environmental Epidemiology. All rights reserved.