Churches as physical activity resources: A descriptive assessment.


Objective: This study aims to assess churches as community physical activity (PA) resources in person and via Geographic Information System (GIS) tools.

Methods: Churches (N = 450) in seven communities were assessed using an adapted version of the PA Resource Assessment (PARA) in person and using web-based GIS views. Validity of web-based PARA methods was examined using weighted kappa, percent agreement, and Wilcoxon Signed Rank.

Results: Average PARA ratings for features (2.39) and amenities (2.81) were high quality; incivilities (1.91) were not a high inconvenience. Most PARA items had slight-to-fair agreement (64.7%) between GIS and in-person assessment; however, items displayed low weighted kappa statistics and quality ratings were significantly different as determined by a Wilcoxon Signed Rank test.

Conclusions: Churches may be viable community PA resources and provide locations for PA. Web-based assessment may not capture quality as well as in-person assessment and more research should be done as technology advances.

Health Behavior and Policy Review