During the summer of 2014 I traveled to Nanchang, China and conducted an observational study of park usage over a 4 week period. This is a particularly interesting question to address because parks in China are widely used, especially by older adults, which is unlike park usage in America. We believe that parks provide an outlet for physical activity and community gathering for older adults and contribute to better quality of life. In a country with such rapid rates of development and rising rates of chronic diseases and obesity, parks and green spaces will become increasingly important for maintaining levels of physical activity. With the help of our Chinese hosts we were able to complete the study, and are now in the process of writing papers discussing our findings.
The Chinese host students were an essential part of our success. They were incredibly hospitable, frequently going above and beyond to ensure our comfortability and happiness. Together we enjoyed the local culture and food and over my 5 week stay we became good friends. Getting to know one another and making new friends was definitely a highlight.