Research Study Abstract

Greenspace and MVPA in urban and rural Scottish adolescents: A study using accelerometry, GPS, and GIS

  • Presented on May 21, 2014

Purpose: The importance of greenspace for young people’s moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is still unknown. Few studies exist which combine accelerometry, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) among youths. This study investigated the relationship between (i) amount of neighbourhood greenspace and MVPA, and (ii) MVPA time expended in greenspace, comparing across urban and rural settings.

Methods: Seventy participants (rural=39) wore the Actigraph GT3X+ and Garmin Foretrex 301 for seven days in May 2013. Timestamped data were matched and transfered to a GIS package to identify points falling within greenspace. 800m road/ path network buffers around residences were used to represent neighbourhoods. Percentage (%) of the buffer categorized as greenspace was used as the predictor. Outcomes were % of total recorded time that was MVPA, and total MVPA time spent in greenspace.

Results: Neighbourhood greenspace was a significant predictor of % time in MVPA (b = 0.22, p=0.018), but was unrelated to urban/ rural setting. For a day consisting of 500 mins, an increase of 1m2 in neighbourhood greenspace would result in an increase of 1.1 MVPA mins. However, no effect was found for MVPA time expended in greenspace, regardless of urban/ rural setting.

Conclusions Initial results suggest that neighbourhood greenspace has a positive impact on Scottish adolescents MVPA, regardless of urban/rural setting; however, more greenspace in the local residential neighbourhood may not result in greater MVPA time expended in greenspace. Further analyses will investigate total greenspace use (by intensity classification), across urban and rural settings, gender and area deprivation.


  • Paul McCrorie
  • Scott MacDonald
  • Natalie Nicholls
  • Anne Ellaway

Presented at

ISBNPA 2014 Annual Conference


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