Public open space, green exercise and well-being in Chittagong, Bangladesh

Alak Paul, Tapan Kumar Nath, Sharifa Jahan Noon, Mohammad Mohaiminul Islam, Alexander Mark Lechner

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22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Research on public open spaces (POS) and well-being benefits has been extensively studied in developed countries such as in Australia, Europe, and America, however, in developing countries such as Bangladesh, there is very limited research. This study, carried out in six popular POS in Chittagong, Bangladesh, explored visitors’ activities in POS and their perception on well-being outcomes. It also assessed visitors’ characteristics, their perceived health status, features of POS, and collective activities such as informal POS associations. Data were collected using structured interviews of 181 randomly approached POS visitors, key-informant interviews with presidents/members of four associations related to POS, and personal observations. About 80 % of the respondents were 31–60 years old, and the mean body mass index of the respondents was 26.7. Up to 18 % of respondents, particularly women and younger people, were concerned about obesity, hypertension, and elevated sugar level. Most of the respondents lived nearby and visited their local POS 5–7 days per week, primarily for walking or light jogging (100 %). Around 80 % of respondents perceived that physical activities in POS helped reduce or maintain their body weight and prevent hypertension, and 45 % perceived that physical activities in POS reduced cholesterol, blood sugar and liver fat. Another 70 % respondents perceived that activities in POS could contribute to an active lifestyle, increase energy levels and enhance their thinking ability and level of confidence. Our findings suggest that the expansion and management of POS such as urban green spaces, and encouraging the public to undertake green exercise could be an important public health intervention in Bangladesh and elsewhere.

Original languageEnglish
Article number126825
Number of pages10
JournalUrban Forestry and Urban Greening
Volume55
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Active lifestyle
  • Green exercise
  • POS
  • Social capital
  • Well-being benefits

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