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Environmental Influences on Physical Activity in Rural Adults: The Relative Contributions of Home, Church, and Work Settings

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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This study examines the relative contribution of social (eg, social support) and physical (eg, programs and facilities) aspects of worksite, church, and home settings to physical activity levels among adults in rural communities.


Data are from a cross-sectional survey of 268 African American and Caucasian adults, ages 40–70, living in southwest Georgia. Separate regression models were developed for walking, moderate, vigorous, and total physical activity as measured in METs-minutes-per-week.


Social support for physical activity was modest in all 3 settings (mean scores 1.5–1.9 on a 4-point scale). Participants reported limited (<1) programs and facilities for physical activity at their worksites and churches. An interaction of physical and social aspects of the home setting was observed for vigorous and moderate physical activity and total METs. There were also interactions between gender and social support at church for vigorous activity among women, and between race and the physical environment at church for moderate physical activity. A cross-over interaction was found between home and church settings for vigorous physical activity. Social support at church was associated with walking and total METs.


Homes and churches may be important behavioral settings for physical activity among adults in rural communities.

Kegler, Swan and Alcantara are with Emory Prevention Research Center, Emory University, Atlanta, GA. Glanz is with the Dept of Natural Sciences, Albany, GA.