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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

GENDER DIFFERENCES IN THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF A BICYCLE-PEDESTRIAN TRAIL

Abstract

We conducted a survey of visitors to a pedestrian and walking trail that circles the city of Carrollton, Georgia. The trail is called the Carrollton GreenBelt, and it is also considered a linear park. We intercepted visitors as they used the trail, approaching them at set places and times over a six-week period, and we repeated this methodology, collecting three waves of data at 9 month intervals between the fall of 2015 and the spring of 2017. Our goals were to learn about how using the trail impacts the health behavior and transportation choices made by the park's visitors. As we began analyzing the first wave of data, we noticed that men visited the park more often and exercised more vigorously on the trail than women did - yet it was women who reported receiving the greatest health benefits from using the trail. We were surprised, because this goes against the common finding that men enjoy better health than women, while women lead longer lives. To understand this puzzle, we also considered the effect of socializing on health. We noticed that people who used the trail with others get more benefit from the park than those who use it alone - and because women use the park with others more than men do, they gain a greater share of the health benefits than men do.

Acknowledgements

UWG, Friends of the Carrollton GreenBelt

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