Child, Youth, and Family Studies, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Preventive Medicine Reports 40 (2024) 102656. ttps://


Open access.


Objective: This scoping review synthesizes studies examining community-level variability in physical activity resource (assets) and opportunity (organized group physical activity services) availability by community sociodemographic characteristics to describe methodologies for measuring resources/opportunities, indicators characterizing availability, and associations between community-level sociodemographic characteristics and availability.

Methods: A systematic search was conducted in MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO, and Scopus for literature through 2022. Eligible studies quantitatively examined measures of physical activity resource/opportunity availability by community-level racial, ethnic, and/or socioeconomic characteristics within geospatially defined communities. Extracted data included: community geospatial definitions, sociodemographic characteristics assessed, methodologies for measuring and indicators of community physical activity resource/opportunity availability, and study findings.

Results: Among the 46 included studies, community geospatial units were defined by 28 different community boundaries (e.g., town), and 13% of studies were conducted in rural areas. Nearly all (98%) studies measured community-level socioeconomic status, and 45% of studies measured race/ethnicity. A total of 41 indicators of physical activity resource/opportunity availability were identified. Most studies (91%) assessed built environment resources (e.g., parks), while 8.7% of studies assessed opportunities (e.g., programs). Of 141 associations/ differences between community sociodemographic characteristics and resource/opportunity availability, 29.8% indicated greater availability in communities of higher socioeconomic status or lower prevalence of minority populations. The remaining findings were in the opposite direction (9.2%), non-significant (36.9%), or mixed (24.1%).

Conclusions: Variability in physical activity resources/opportunities by community sociodemographic characteristics was not consistently evident. However, the indicators synthesized may be useful for informing population health improvement efforts by illuminating the physical and social conditions impacting population physical activity outcomes.