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Kathleen Scanlin, Regine Haardoerfer, Michelle C. Kegler and Karen Glanz

Background:

Recently, investigators have begun to refine audit instruments for use in rural areas. However, no studies have developed a walkability summary score or have correlated built environment characteristics with physical activity behavior.

Methods:

The Rural Pedestrian Environmental Audit Instrument was developed specifically for use in rural areas. Segments surrounding participant’s homes were selected to represent neighborhood streets (N = 116). Interrater reliability was conducted on a subset of streets (N = 42). Rural-specific domain and walkability scores were developed and correlated with individual-level data on perceptions of the neighborhood and self-reported physical activity behavior.

Results:

Interrater reliability for the instrument was substantial and all domains had high agreement. Walkability in the audited area was low with even the best segments demonstrating only moderate support for walking. There were no significant correlations between the neighborhood walkability score and self-reported neighborhood walkability, time spent walking, sedentary behavior, or BMI; however, a few correlations within the social/dynamic domain were significant.

Conclusions:

This study expands recent research refining audit instruments for rural areas. Findings suggest the usefulness of summarizing environmental data at the domain level and linking it to physical activity behavior to identify aspects of the neighborhood environment that are most strongly correlated with actual behavior.

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Matthew Chrisman, Faryle Nothwehr, Kathleen Janz, Jingzhen Yang and Jacob Oleson

Background:

Rural adults participate in lower levels of physical activity (PA) than urban or suburban adults. Due to known effects of the environment on PA participation, this study examined perceived ecological correlates (social, environmental, and policy) of domain- and intensity-specific PA in rural adults.

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey was completed by 143 individuals residing in the rural Midwest. PA was measured using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire; correlates of PA were measured using a modified version of the PA in Communities Questionnaire. Multiple regression analyses were conducted using general linear modeling.

Results:

Predictors of PA included: employers providing time for exercise (P = .0003); available shopping malls (P = .0032); activity-friendly community aspects (P = .0048); favorable policy attitudes (P = .0018): participation in sports (P < .0001); encouragement from friends (P = .0136); awareness (P = .0015) and use (P = .0113) of community resources; and having hills (P = .0371).

Conclusions:

Correlates of PA in various domains and intensities in rural adults are multifactorial and occur at different levels of the environment. Findings from this study can be used to tailor PA interventions in rural adults, with respect to specific domains and intensity in which the PA occurs.

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Hisao Osada, Hiroshi Shibata, Shuichiro Watanabe, Shu Kumagai and Takao Suzuki

This study examined cross-sectional relationships and longitudinal changes in psychological well-being and selected physical conditions in urban and rural older adults. A 2-year longitudinal analysis was conducted as part of the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology—Longitudinal Interdisciplinary Study on Aging in 1993 and 1995 in the urban area and in 1994 and 1996 in the rural area. The participants were 285 men and 341 women in the urban area and 301 men and 427 women in the rural area. Visual capacity and chewing ability were independent predictors of psychological well-being in urban elderly in the 1st survey and in the rural elderly in both surveys, and hearing capacity and movement capability were independent predictors of psychological well-being in urban elderly in the 2nd survey. Decrease in chewing ability was associated with decrease in psychological well-being in urban seniors; deterioration in visual capacity and movement capability was associated with decline in psychological well-being in the rural elderly.

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Lionel Frost, Margaret Lightbody and Abdel K. Halabi

Australian Football clubs have traditionally been seen as contributing social benefits to the rural communities in which they are embedded. Declining numbers of participants, both players and volunteers, suggest that this role may not be as strong today. Critical explorations of the extent to which football has driven social inclusion and exclusion in such environments emphasizes a historic masculine culture of drinking and violence that segregates and marginalizes women and children. Less is known about the contemporary strategic efforts of clubs to use social capital to support their activities, and whether the resources they generate have positive impacts on social inclusion in the wider community. We use evidence from the Parliament of Victoria’s Inquiry into Country Football (2004) to explore the current focus of rural Australian Football clubs regarding social inclusion, in light of changes occurring in society and rural towns in the 21st century.

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Cevdet Tinazci and Osman Emiroglu

Background:

The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of environmental factors on physical fitness of rural and urban children.

Methods:

To reveal the differences between physical fitness of children living in urban and rural districts of the Turkish Cypriot population, 3939 nine- to eleven-year-old male primary school children from 90 schools of North Cyprus were tested. Testing procedures were similar to the Eurofit tests.

Results:

The results showed that body mass index and skinfold thicknesses were higher in the urban children (P < .05). Differences in cardiopulmonary and motor fitness were also found between groups. In addition, flexibility and muscle endurance were significantly higher in the rural children.

Conclusion:

The significantly lower flexibility, muscle endurance, and strength of urban children might indicate a lower habitual physical activity level.

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M. Renée Umstattd, Stephanie L. Baller, Erin Hennessy, David Hartley, Christina D. Economos, Raymond R. Hyatt, Anush Yousefian and Jeffrey S. Hallam

Background:

Evidence supports the role of physical and social environments in active living, including perception of environment. However, measurement of perceived environments in rural settings is lacking. This study describes the development of the Rural Active Living Perceived Environmental Support Scale (RALPESS).

Methods:

Premised on social ecological and cognitive perspectives, 85 initial items were generated through a literature review and a mixed-methods investigation of “activity-friendly” environments. Items were organized by resource areas—town center, indoor and outdoor physical activity areas, schools, churches, and areas around the home/neighborhood—and submitted for expert panel review. In 2009, a revised questionnaire was disseminated to adolescents, parents, public school staff, and older adults in 2 rural southeastern United States counties. Principal component analysis with varimax rotation was used to explore factor structure (n = 542).

Results:

The final analysis yielded 33 items with 7 factors: 1) church facilities, 2) town center connectivity, 3) indoor areas, 4) around the home/neighborhood, 5) town center physical activity resources, 6) school grounds, and 7) outdoor areas.

Conclusions:

The RALPESS is a valid, internally consistent, and practically useful instrument to measure perceptions of rural environments in the context of physical activity across the lifespan. Confirmatory factor analysis is recommended to validate factor structure.

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Alain P. Gauthier, Michel Lariviere, Raymond Pong, Susan Snelling and Nancy Young

Background:

Researchers have recently expressed their concern for the health of Francophones and rural dwellers in Canada. Their levels of physical activity may explain part of the observed differences. However, little is known about the physical activity levels of these 2 groups. The purpose of this study was to assess levels of physical activity among a sample of Francophones and rural dwellers. The study also assessed the associations of various types of physical activity to measures of health status.

Methods:

A quota-based convenience sample of 256 adults from Northern Ontario was surveyed using the IPAQ and the SF-12.

Results:

There were no significant differences in activity levels between language groups (P = .06) or geographical groups (P = .22) on the combined dependent variables based on MANOVA. Leisure-time physical activity scores were consistently associated to better physical component summary scores of the SF-12.

Conclusions:

Implications for practice include that leisure-time physical activities have been at the forefront of public health promotion, and our findings support this approach. Further, population specific interventions are indeed important, however, within this Canadian context when identifying target groups one must look beyond sociocultural status or geographical location.

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Kenneth E. Mobily, Linda M. Rubenstein, Jon H. Lemke, Michael W. O’Hara and Robert B. Wallace

The purpose of the study was to develop an explanatory model of the exercise/depression relationship using a rural-residing population of elderly aged 65 or older. Subjects were selected from the 3,673 persons who participated in the Iowa 65+ Rural Health Study. The 2,084 subjects with complete data, valid information about depressive symptoms, and ability to walk across a small room were divided into two cohort groups at baseline: those with few and those with more depressive symptoms. Logistic regression models using walking status, demographic variables, and chronic health conditions were developed to predict depressive symptoms for this population at a 3-year follow-up. Consistent with previous studies using mixed-age cohorts, physical activity was negatively associated with depressive symptoms. We concluded that the relationship between exercise and depressive symptoms may be manifested in both subjects with more and few depressive symptoms because both groups benefited from daily walking.

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Cynthia K. Perry, Brian E. Saelens and Beti Thompson

This study aimed to identify intrapersonal, behavioral, and environmental factors associated with engaging in recommended levels of physical activity among rural Latino middle school youth. Data were from an anonymous survey of 773 Latino youth (51% female) about level of and barriers and motivators to physical activity, risk behaviors, and park use. Logistic regression models identified factors correlated with meeting recommended levels of physical activity (5 days or more 360 min/day). Thirty-four percent of girls and 41% of boys reported meeting this physical activity recommendation. Participation in an organized after school activity (p < .001) and in physical education (PE) classes 5 days a week (p < .001) were strongly associated with meeting recommended physical activity level. Making PE available 5 days a week and creating opportunities for organized after school physical activity programs may increase the number of rural Latino middle school youth who meet recommended physical activity level.

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António Prista, Leonardo Nhantumbo, Silvio Saranga, Vítor Lopes, José Maia, André e Seabra, João Vinagre, Carole A. Conn and Gaston Beunen

Physical activity (PA) in children/adolescents of both genders from a rural community in Mozambique was estimated by accelerometry and by questionnaire and was compared with PA of Portuguese youth. Total PA, moderate (MPA), vigorous (VPA) and very vigorous (VVPA) were evaluated. Mozambican boys were more active than girls. Intensity of PA declined significantly with age. Survival activities, such as household tasks, were the predominant mode of PA. Compared with Portuguese children/adolescents, Mozambicans had significantly higher total PA; showed less decline of PA with age and engaged in fewer minutes at higher intensity PA. Environmental factors likely explain documented differences.