Most spatial epidemiological studies of nature-health relationships use generalized greenspace measures. For instance, coarse-resolution spatial data containing normalized difference vegetative index (NDVI) values are prominent despite criticisms, such as the inability to restrain exposure estimates to public and private land. Non-threatening natural landscapes can improve health by building capacities for health-promoting behaviors. Recreational and accessible parks may best activate such behaviors. We curated the Parks and Protected Areas Database of the U.S. (PAD-US) to identify parks that are accessible for outdoor recreation. Our title adds "AR" to "PAD-US" where A = Accessible and R = Recreational. We validated the PAD-US-AR by comparisons with greenspace datasets and sociodemographics, which demonstrated its uniqueness from other commonly employed metrics of nature exposure. The PAD-US-AR presents reliable estimates of parks in the contiguous U.S. that are accessible for outdoor recreation. It has strong associations with home prices, shares of female residents, and shares of older residents. This dataset can accompany other nature exposure metrics in environmental epidemiology and allied research fields.
The PAD-US-AR dataset: Measuring accessible and recreational parks in the contiguous United States.