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Postprint of: Carvalho Vieira, M, Sperandei, S, Reis, AC & Thaumaturgo da Silva, CG 2013, 'An analysis of the suitability of public spaces to physical activity practice in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil', Preventive Medicine, vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 198-200.

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To assess the physical characteristics of public spaces designed for sport/physical activity/leisure in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and their relationship to the socioeconomic indicators.


Public spaces (n = 38) spread across the city were evaluated between December 2011 and January 2012 using the Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA) instrument. Based on PARA results, a Quality Indicator (QI) was prepared and the sample was grouped into “High QI” and “Low QI” using a k-means clustering algorithm. The association between QI and the local Social Development Index (SDI) was tested using a Chi-square test.


The average QI was 13.6 ± 4.91 and the median was equal to 13 points. The High QI group, composed of sites with a QI above median, reached 17.9 ± 2.35 points, while the Low QI group reached 9.3 ± 2.16 points. Pearson's Chi-square tests identified a significant association between QI and SDI when the value of SDI 0.7 was used as a criterion for separation (χ2 = 17.84, p < 0.001). In neighborhoods with lower levels of SDI, public spaces usually had a lower QI.


Policies to encourage physical activity need to focus attention on the built environment also, particularly in socially vulnerable areas.

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