“The Kids Need a Safe Place to Play”: Caregivers’ Recommendations for Promoting Child Physical Activity in an Inner-City Neighborhood

By Robin L. Jarrett, Ozge Sensoy Bahar, Douglas A. Williams and Ezella M. McPherson.

Published by The International Journal of the Constructed Environment

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This article contributes to discussions of interventions that promote child physical activity in inner-city neighborhoods. Researchers have found that inner-city neighborhoods with minority populations face multiple built environment-related barriers to physical activity, and have documented the need for place-based interventions to promote more opportunities for physical activity. Using a resilience framework and drawing on qualitative data, we present first-hand recommendations from African American caregivers of preschool age children. Caregivers’ recommendations centered on building more recreational venues, and detailed the critical characteristics of these venues, including safety, availability, accessibility, developmental-appropriateness, and multi-generational activities and programs. Caregivers also cited the importance of using existing community assets. Caregivers’ proposed interventions to promote more physical activity opportunities for their children reflected their knowledge of the local neighborhood, their understandings of local challenges, and their preferred solutions. Applied research that includes direct insights from participants is more likely to develop interventions that are valid and effective.

Keywords: African American Children, Built Environment, Inner-city Neighborhoods, Maternal Management Strategies, Qualitative Research

The International Journal of the Constructed Environment, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.233-254. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 6.602MB).

Robin L. Jarrett

Professor, Human and Community Development, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Robin L. Jarrett is a professor in the Departments of Human and Community Development and African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ozge Sensoy Bahar

PhD Student, Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Ozge Sensoy Bahar is a PhD student in Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Douglas A. Williams

PhD Student, Landscape Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Douglas A. Williams is a PhD student in Landscape Architecture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Ezella M. McPherson

PhD student, Education Policy, Organization and Leadership, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Ezella M. McPherson has a PhD from the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.