Examining seasonal variations in physical activity among low-income Hispanic walk-trail users living in the Cameron Park Colonia

Jennifer F Mota, The University of Texas School of Public Health


This study examines variations in physical activity by season, and within seasons by age and gender among park users living in the Cameron Park Colonia, a low-income Hispanic community along the Texas-Mexico border. This is the first study of its kind to evaluate seasonal variations by physical activity among a Hispanic population. We hypothesized that (1) there are no differences in overall physical activity by season; (2) youth engage in more sport-related physical activity compared to adults, (3) males engage in more physical activity than females, and (4) there are differences in physical activity between walk-trail users compared to non walk-trail users in the park. Physical activity behavioral data was collected (males n=2,093; females n=1,014) at two time periods (winter 2007; summer 2007) via direct observations and assessed park use, walking trail use, and physical activity (moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) by seasons. Frequencies for physical activities were calculated for gender, age groups, and season. Separate Pearson's chi-square analyses were used to address variations in physical activity, age, gender, intensity level of physical activity by season, between walk-trails users and non walk-trail users. People visiting the park engaged in more sedentary behavior in winter than summer and a higher percentage engaged in MVPA in the summer than winter (p<.05). More females engaged in light activity compared to males (p<.05). Walk-trail users consisted mostly of females and engaged in more light activity than non walk-trail users (p<.05) who participated in more MVPA. Increasing access to parks and walk-trails may be an intervention strategy to increase physical activity among Hispanics. More research is needed to assess promoting trail use and determining long-term effects on physical activity among minority/ethnic groups at greater risk of a sedentary lifestyle and reasons for trail use and non-use. Future studies should focus on the types of activities Hispanics engage in at different parks particularly between men and women. As a result of this study city officials and planners may use this information to build and design parks that cater to the types of activities that Hispanics engage in and may use to meet physical activity guidelines.

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Mota, Jennifer F, "Examining seasonal variations in physical activity among low-income Hispanic walk-trail users living in the Cameron Park Colonia" (2010). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1479642.