If You Make it Free, Will They Come? Using a Physical Activity Accessibility Model to Understand the Use of a Free Children’s Recreation Pass

This study aims to answer a simple question: Are expenses the main obstacle in the fitness of children?

The study inducted took a particular age group and studied them over the course of a year. The age group was specifically chosen as being the ‘turning point’ for sedentary lifestyles, where children seem to lose interest in physical pursuits to the vast detriment of their health.

The age group in question? Fifth graders.

The study was conducted by Andrew F. Clark, Joannah Campbell, Patricia Tucker, Piotr Wilk, and Jason A. Gilliland. By choosing fifth graders as their subject, not only were results likely to be most prominent, either for or against, but the fifth graders in question were also most likely to benefit from positive results. They aimed to intervene at the precise point where children decide on a lifestyle, and to encourage a healthy one.

So, if you make it free, will they come?

As it turns out, of the 881 fifth graders participating in the study, 44.9% of them were found to have used the free pass. The results still suggest that many of those who needed it most, did in fact benefit.

In essence, the results were positive, but it was found that the process could benefit from revision. To continue being successful, community-based physical activity interventions need to ensure that the intervention increases geographic, economic, and informational accessibility and provides mobility options that are available to the target population.

The study can be read here: http://theheal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/jpah.2018-0364.pdf

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