Shade Sails and Passive Recreation in Public Parks of Melbourne and Denver: A Randomized Intervention

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Abstract

Objectives

To test whether shade sails will increase the use of passive recreation areas (PRAs).

Methods

We conducted a stratified randomized pretest-posttest controlled design study in Melbourne, Australia, and Denver, Colorado, in 2010 to 2014. We randomized a sample of 144 public parks with 2 PRAs in full sun in a 1:3 ratio to treatment or control. Shade sails were built at 1 PRA per treatment park. The outcome was any use of the study PRA (n = 576 pretest and n = 576 posttest observations; 100% follow-up).

Results

Compared with control PRAs (adjusted probability of use: pretest = 0.14, posttest = 0.17), use of treatment PRAs (pretest = 0.10, posttest = 0.32) was higher at posttest (odds ratio [OR] = 3.91; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.71, 8.94). Shade increased use of PRAs in Denver (control: pretest = 0.18, posttest = 0.19; treatment: pretest = 0.16, posttest = 0.47) more than Melbourne (control: pretest = 0.11, posttest = 0.14; shaded: pretest = 0.06, posttest = 0.19; OR = 2.98; 95% CI = 1.09, 8.14).

Conclusions

Public investment in shade is warranted for skin cancer prevention and may be especially useful in the United States.

Trial Registration

Clinicaltrials.gov identifier NCT02971709.

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