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Michael B. Edwards, Michael A. Kanters and Jason N. Bocarro

Background:

This study’s purpose was to assess the opportunities for North Carolina adolescents to be physically active in extracurricular middle school environments and to compare opportunities across community types.

Methods:

Data were analyzed based on the results of an electronic questionnaire distributed to a sample of 431 schools with a response rate of 75.4% (N = 325).

Results:

Nearly all schools offered interscholastic sports while fewer than half offered intramurals or noncompetitive activities to students. “Open gym” was offered at only 35% of schools, while 24% of schools offered extracurricular activities to students with disabilities. Overall, 43.4% of schools offered special transportation to students who participated in some extracurricular physical activities. Schools in rural areas generally offered fewer programs and had fewer supports than schools located in more urbanized areas. Over two-thirds of rural schools offered no extracurricular programs other than interscholastic sports.

Conclusions:

Schools can be important settings for physical activity. North Carolina’s middle schools and its rural schools in particular, are falling short in efforts to provide extracurricular physical activity programming recommended by researchers and policy groups.1−6 Lower accessibility to extracurricular physical activities may partially contribute to higher levels of physical inactivity found in the state.

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Patricia A. Hageman, Carol H. Pullen and Michael Yoerger

disease ( Kolotkin, Meter, & Williams, 2001 ). Rural women have a disproportionate rate of obesity-related behaviors, including inactivity and a high prevalence of associated chronic disease, when compared with their urban counterparts, and these behaviors contribute to a higher prevalence of late

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Patricia A. Hageman, Susan Noble Walker, Carol H. Pullen, Linda S. Boeckner and Maureen K. Oberdorfer

This study investigated physical activity and fitness of midlife and older rural women. Random-digit dialing was used to recruit 225 women (57.9 ± 5.6 years old). Self-reported activity (moderate activity, flexibility, and strength) and fitness (body composition, flexibility, strength, and estimated VO2max) were assessed. The women demonstrated low daily energy expenditure (30.74 ± 10.63 kcal · kg−1 · day−1) and estimated VO2max (20.12 ± 7.81 ml · kg−1 · min−1), with 51.5% reporting fair or poor health. Few women reported meeting Healthy People 2010 targets for moderate activity (43.1%), flexibility (28.9%), or strength (14.2%). When classified by estimated VO2max into three categories, differences were observed for body-mass index, percent body fat, sit and reach, and timed chair stands, with the poorest performance by those with low cardiorespiratory fitness. Adherence to Healthy People 2010 targets for moderate activity and strengthening was associated with higher cardiorespiratory fitness. These rural women are targets for physical activity interventions because of their sedentary behaviors and low cardiorespiratory fitness.

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Robert L. Newton, Hongmei Han, Melinda Sothern, Corby K. Martin, Larry S. Webber and Donald A. Williamson

Background:

To determine if there are differences in time spent in physical activity and sedentary behavior between rural African American and Caucasian children.

Methods:

Children wore accelerometers for 3 weekdays. The students were randomly selected from a larger sample of children participating in a weight gain prevention intervention. Usable data were obtained from 272 of the 310 students who agreed to participate. The outcome data included counts per minute (CPM), time spent in moderate to vigorous (MVPA), light (LPA), and sedentary (SED) activity. The equation and cutoff used to analyze national accelerometry data were used for the current study.

Results:

The sample had an average age of 10.4 (1.1) years and 76% were African American. Lower SES African Americans had more CPM (P = .012) and spent more time in MVPA (P = .008) compared with middle SES African American and lower SES Caucasian children. Lower SES African American children also spent fewer minutes in SED activity (P = .044) compared with middle SES African American children.

Conclusions:

These findings support recent results that also used objective activity measures. Children appeared less active and more sedentary than a national sample, warranting interventions in minority and rural populations.

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Jim Dollman, Kevin Norton and Graeme Tucker

The aim of this study was to compare urban and rural South Australian primary schoolchildren on measures of anthropometry, fitness, and environmental mediators of physical activity. The sample was comprised of 445 urban and 205 rural boys and 423 urban and 158 rural girls, all age 10–11 yrs at the time of testing. After controlling for socioeconomic status and ethnicity, rural girls and boys were faster over 1.6 k than their urban counterparts while rural girls were also faster over 50 m. Rural residence independently predicted participation in organized activity, increasing involvement in club sport, and decreasing involvement in school sport. Rural children reported a greater likelihood of participating in two or more physical education classes per week. It is evident that urban and rural South Australia differ in ways which impact on fitness and physical activity patterns of upper primary age children.

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Kenneth E. Mobily, Jon H. Lemke, Greg A. Drube, Robert B. Wallace, David K. Leslie and Ellen Weissinger

The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between attitude toward physical activity and exercise practices among a large, well-defined population of rural mid western elderly. The frequency of participation in exercise was a composite across three questions regarding physical activity. Intensity of exercise was also considered. The data were analyzed according to a weighted least-squares approach to categorical data. The resulting chisquare goodness-of-fit model was significant and replicated the exercise behavior of the subjects. A significant main effect for gender and a significant age × attitude interaction was observed. The main effect for gender revealed that, for any age × attitude combination, males were more apt to participate at a given exercise level. However, age mediated the influence of attitude on exercise. Older age had a more detrimental effect on exercise behavior if attitude toward exercise was positive.

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Robert M. Ojiambo, Chris Easton, Jose A. Casajús, Kenn Konstabel, John J. Reilly and Yannis Pitsiladis

Background:

Urbanization affects lifestyles in the developing world but no studies have assessed the impact on objectively measured physical activity in children and adolescents from sub-Saharan Africa.

Purpose:

To compare objectively measured habitual physical activity, sedentary time, and indices of adiposity in adolescents from rural and urban areas of Kenya.

Methods:

Physical activity and sedentary time were assessed by accelerometry for 5 consecutive days in 97 (50 female and 47 male) rural and 103 (52 female and 51 male) urban adolescents (mean age 13 ± 1 years). Body Mass Index (BMI) and BMI z-scores were used to assess adiposity.

Results:

Rural males spent more time in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) compared with urban males (68 ± 22 vs. 50 ± 17 min, respectively; P < .001). Similarly, Rural females spent more time in MVPA compared with urban females (62 ± 20 vs. 37 ± 20 min, respectively; P < .001). Furthermore, there were significant differences in daily sedentary time between rural and urban subjects. Residence (rural vs. urban) significantly (P < .001) influenced BMI z-score (R 2 = .46).

Conclusion:

Rural Kenyan adolescents are significantly more physically active (and less sedentary) and have lower indices of adiposity compared with urban adolescents and this is a likely refection of the impact of urbanization on lifestyle in Kenya.

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Jean-François Loudcher

La soule, aussi appelée sole, chole ou choule, est un jeu rural aux origines assez floues. S’il met généralement aux prises deux groupes d’individus dont chaque membre s’efforce individuellement de transporter une « balle » dans un endroit donné (mare, grange…) et se déroulant à certains jours

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Natalie Kružliaková, Paul A. Estabrooks, Wen You, Valisa Hedrick, Kathleen Porter, Michaela Kiernan and Jamie Zoellner

took place in an 8-county region in rural, Appalachian southwest Virginia. This area is classified as medically underserved and has considerable socioeconomic inequalities, which predisposes residents to PA disparities. 44 , 45 Within this 8-county region, data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

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Robert Eley, Robert Bush and Wendy Brown

Background:

Interventions addressing chronic disease through physical activity are hampered by the low evidence base from rural areas. The purpose of the study was to provide information which may contribute to the development of future policy and strategy applicable to rural Queensland.

Methods:

Six diverse rural shires were chosen. A mixed-method design included more than 100 interviews with community representatives; surveys to 3000 community members; audits of facilities, amenities, and other relevant resources in each shire; and detailed observation during repeated site visits.

Results:

Half the respondents failed to meet Australian physical activity guidelines and 1 in 5 reported no activity. Queensland’s rural communities offer good access to a wide variety of structured and nonstructured activities. Some barriers to physical activity (eg, family commitments) are similar to those reported from urban areas; however, others including climate, culture of exercise, and community leadership are unique to the rural environment.

Conclusions:

Unique characteristics of rural environments and populations affect engagement in physical activity. Promotion of healthy lifestyle in rural environments need to be informed by local context and not merely extrapolated from urban situations. Attention must be paid to specific local circumstances which may affect implementation, adoption and participation.