Outdoor adult playgrounds (OAPs) have in some cases been in socioeconomically underserved neighbourhoods to improve community members’ access to physical activity infrastructure. Older adults have been identified as one population group who could particularly benefit from OAP equipment. The purpose of this study was to explore and identify the social ecological factors that influenced older adults’ uptake of an OAP installed in a neighbourhood of low-socioeconomic status. We employed the social ecological model (SEM) using a case study design and argue that the OAP’s location may help to lower inequalities in access to physical activity infrastructure. We end this paper with a discussion into all-ages and age-friendly policy as they relate to OAPs and suggest novel ways of activating municipal parks for seniors.


qualitative case studies, built environment, physical activity, older adults

Author Bio(s)

Kevin J. Gardam, M.P.H., is a recent Master of Public Health graduate from Lakehead University. His research interests have focussed in two areas: the role of the environment in influencing older adults’ physical activity and Indigenous youth social development through sport.

Dr. Helle Møller, Ph.D. (Corresponding author), is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences at Lakehead University. Her research interests span the determinants of health and social justice in northern, rural and remote areas with an emphasis on the health and wellbeing of women and Indigenous peoples and older adults. Please direct correspondence to hmoeller@lakeheadu.ca.

Dr. Erin S. Pearson, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Lakehead University. Her research interests include the psychology of health and physical activity, community-based health promotion interventions, child and family health, and health behaviour change strategies such as motivational interviewing and Co-Active life coaching.


This study was supported by a Canada Graduate Scholarships (Master's Program) Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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