First author Andrew T. Kaczynski, assistant professor at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, said the research team observed 2,454 youth and 6,401 adults during the study.
The study, published in Preventing Chronic Disease, found overall, male youth were more likely to be engaged in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity than female youth, but no significant difference was observed between white and non-white youth.
However, the most popular areas for youth to be active were trails, playgrounds, open spaces, pools and picnic shelters.
But for adults, the areas most used were paved trails, open spaces, playgrounds, picnic shelters and tennis courts, the study said.
Overall, male adults were not more likely to be engaged in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity than female adults, the study said.
The researchers said understanding variations in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity among the groups that use these activity spaces can help park design efforts to foster increased activity among its visitors.