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Play Across Boston—Unequal Opportunities for Youths in Boston to Participate in Sports and Physical Activity Programs


Host Institution
Harvard University (previous center): Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity

Health Topics
Healthy youth | Physical activity

In 1997, opportunities for after-school physical activities for youths living in Boston were reported as one-third those for youths in the local suburban communities. In collecting data to help plan improvements, researchers assessed physical activity resources and facilities for youths in Boston and found further disparities in access and participation by sex and by race or ethnicity. Boys are twice as likely as girls to participate in sports and physical activity programs. The opportunities for participation are fewer and the level of participation is lower for African American and Hispanic youths than for white youths. The study also found that playground quality and the number of sports and recreation facilities vary across the city’s neighborhoods. The researchers are now working with branches of city government and community organizations to increase physical activity opportunities inside and outside the school environment, and to provide opportunities for physical activity equally throughout the city.
Research Setting
City/Town | Urban area
Race or Ethnicity
Black or African American
No specific focus
Age Group
Children (4-11 years) | Adolescents (12-17 years)
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Principal Investigator
Steven Gortmaker

Project Identifier
Core Project (1998-2004)

Funding Source
PRC Program

Project Status
Not active