Awareness and use of community walking trails

Julian A. Reed, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Dawn K. Wilson, Gary Mixon, Annette Cook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Background. Community trail development is an emerging strategy to increase physical activity (PA) among community residents. The purpose of this study was to assess awareness and use of trails and compare perceptions to objective data. Methods. A telephone survey was administered to a stratified sample of adults (N = 1,112) in a southeastern county in the United States. Respondents' home addresses and the locations of trails were entered into a GIS database. A kappa statistic was used to measure agreement between awareness and presence of trails. Differences in reported trail use patterns by sex, race, education, and PA levels were evaluated. Results. There was no agreement between the awareness and presence of trails (kappa = 0.07). Fifty-six percent of the respondents reported having trails; however, only 33% reported using the trails. Of the trail users, 42% reported being regularly active in moderate-to-vigorous PA (30+ min/day for 5+ days/week), and 51% reported being less active (P < 0.003). Among walkers (≥30 min/day for ≥5 days/week), 49% of regular walkers and 35% of irregular walkers (<walkers) reported using the trails (P < 0.04). Conclusions. Awareness of existing trails in this community and levels of use were low. Marketing programs should promote awareness and use of trails among older adults and irregularly active adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)903-908
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Environment
  • Geographic information system
  • Physical activity
  • Walking trails

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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