Association between green space, outdoor leisure time and physical activity

Publication Name

Urban Forestry and Urban Greening


Association between green space and physical activity has ignored housing type, despite people in houses often having access to private green space, whereas their counterparts in apartments mostly do not. Thus, access to green space may have contrasting influences on outdoor leisure time and how much of it is spent doing the types of physical activity known to protect against chronic disease. Adjusted multilevel logistic and zero-truncated negative binomial regressions of the Sax Institute's 45 and Up Study baseline (2006–2009) tested associations between percentage green space, tree canopy, and open grass within 1.6 km of participants homes with: (i) time outdoors on weekdays or (ii) on weekends; (iii) minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA); and (iv) percentage of MVPA spent in vigorous activities (i.e. activities that make people puff and pant). A 10 % increase in total green space was marginally associated with higher odds of spending >2 h outdoors during weekdays (OR = 1.02, 95 %CI = 1.00–1.04) and >4 h during weekends (OR = 1.03, 1.01–1.05) for house-dwellers only. Levels of total MVPA tended to be higher with more green space (IRR = 1.01, 1.00–1.03) among people in houses, but not those in apartments. MVPA as >30 % vigorous was higher for people in houses with 10 % more green space (OR = 1.03 (1.01–1.06), but not apartments. Similar results to total green space were found for 10 % increases in tree canopy, but not for open grass. Association between open grass and time outdoors on weekends was observed for house-dwellers only (OR = 1.03, 1.00–1.07). More open grass was associated were lower levels of MVPA among people in houses (IRR = 0.97 (0.95−0.99). More open grass was also associated with lower odds of >30 % MVPA being vigorous among house-dwellers (OR = 0.96, 0.92−0.99) and apartment-dwellers (OR = 0.84, 0.75−0.94). Benefits of green space for physical activity tend to be observed among house-dwellers. The general absence of green space benefits for time outdoors and physical activity among apartment-dwellers warrants in-depth exploration.

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Funding Number


Funding Sponsor

National Health and Medical Research Council



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