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|Title:||Social and Environmental Factors Related to Community Use in Massachusetts|
|Keywords:||Health Sciences, Public Health;Health Sciences, Recreation|
|Description:||The majority of children in the United States do not attain the recommended sixty minutes of daily physical activity. Opening up school facilities outside of school hours for use by the community has been suggested to increase opportunities for physical activity. The purpose of this research was to identify social and environmental factors that influence community use policies and practices in Massachusetts school districts. Paper 1 developed a quantitative index to describe differences in community use policies. Written community use policies from Massachusetts school districts were collected and double-coded. Analysis of variance was used to identify differences between template vs. unique policies. Districts that developed unique policies had significantly higher scores than districts that adopted the template (mean 20.8 vs. 16.5, P < 0.05). Paper 2 aimed to identify how community use policy presence and sociodemographic characteristics were associated with access to low- and no-cost recreation areas in Massachusetts school districts. Geographic information systems software was used to identify key variables. Linear regression was used to determine if geographic location or district-level sociodemographic characteristics were associated with recreational area availability. In adjusted analyses, metropolitan districts had 2.51 more acres of recreational area surrounding schools per 1000 residents compared to non-metropolitan districts (P = 0.003). Paper 3 utilized a mixed methods approach to identify differences in community use practices in high-use vs. low-use districts. An online survey of school district administrators was conducted, and a subset of these administrators participated in follow-up telephone interviews. The online survey results showed that high-use districts provided a significantly wider variety of services through community use agreements compared to low-use districts (P = 0.02). Both high-use and low-use districts cited cost, maintenance, and upkeep as the biggest barriers to community use. This dissertation created an index that provides a systematic and reliable way to assess school district community use policies. Additionally, it identified disparities in access to recreational and school facilities for physical activity in non-metropolitan school districts in Massachusetts, and identified cost, maintenance, and upkeep as significant barriers to increasing community use. Training, technical assistance, and future research should focus on these areas.|
|Standard no:||Adler, Rachel R. 2015. Social and Environmental Factors Related to Community Use in Massachusetts. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.|
|Appears in Collections:||Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health|
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