Assessing spatial accessibility of physical fitness facilities for older adults in winter city: a case study in Harbin, China

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The spatial distribution of public amenities and the spatial access to them has been a constant focus in geographical research for decades (Smoyer-Tomic et al., 2004). The government of China recognize the significance meaning of public health, the outline of the national fitness programme (2011-2015) (General Administration of Sport of China, 2011) was proposed. During the 5 years from 2011 to 2015, enormous Chinese citizen took participate in daily physical activities, however the quantity of space for physical activities always cannot meet citizen’s needs. Accessibility to physical fitness facilities have received a growing attention as a public health concern in China. There is another fact that the aging has become a more and more serious global society issue, the relevant research has pointed out that China’s population of older adults might constitute a larger proportion than youngsters. They estimated that the 60-64yrs group will become the largest portion of population in 2050 and the 60 age and older might be the highest proportion of population in 2100(Banister et al., 2010, as cited in Zhang et al., 2012). According to the national fitness report of China (General Administration of Sport of China, 2013), the aging group is the prime group who take participate in daily physical activities. Research has shown that adequate physical activities can be beneficial to older adults’ health and relevant results have already showed that regular physical activity could reduce hospital admission and the mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease to a certain degree (Garcia-Aymerich et al., 2006). In order to keep both mentally and physically health, it is important for older adults to do daily physical activities properly. For those older adults who live in winter cities, long and extreme cold temperature poses a major barrier to participate in daily physical activities. Poor accessibility to physical fitness facilities may lead to the decrease of frequency for older adults in winter cities. Considering this situation, the accessibility to physical fitness facilities may play an important role to keep good health of older adults in winter cities in both developing country and developed country. Zhou et al. (2008) summarized that “spatial accessibility is a vital index in the relevant research on healthcare (Wang & Luo, 2005), job access(Wang, 2001; Wang & Monor, 2003),transport(Pooler, 1995), location analysis(Ying et al., 2006) and so on”. However, there is a limitation on research related to spatial disparities by taking older adults as subjects in winter cities.
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