Increasing Physical Activity Through Shared Use Agreements
- Keith Howard, Lecturer, NC State Department of Health and Exercise Studies
- Jason N. Bocarro, Ph.D., NC State Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
- Michael A. Kanters, Ph.D., NC State Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management
Recent data indicate that a significant percentage of children are not meeting the minimum of 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous daily physical activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2011; 2012). Objectively measured data indicate that physical inactivity among children may be more pervasive. For example, Troiano et al. (2008), in one of the largest population based accelerometer based studies, showed that children are often sedentary and these activity patterns continue to decline across the lifespan.
Shared use of community facilities designed for physical activity (e.g., playgrounds, swimming pools, sport fields) has been viewed as one way to address this particular issue as well as other health challenges at the community and environmental level (Crompton, 2009). Shared use agreements allow community agencies such as parks and recreation departments to deliver additional programming and opportunities for sport and physical activity during non-school hours (Crompton, 2009; Spengler, Young, & Linton, 2007; Spengler, Carroll, Connaughton, & Evenson, 2010). Although joint use is not a new concept, its resurgence as an efficient and effective way to deliver recreational services comes at a time when researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers are examining ways to address challenges faced by an increasingly inactive population.
Many entities are reluctant to engage in shared us agreements, however, due to fears of vandalism, liability, overuse of facilities, cost, and lack of knowledge about how to develop such agreements. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to use a case study methodological approach to understand factors that resulted in a successful shared use agreement between a middle school and community parks and recreation agency in central North Carolina.