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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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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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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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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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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.

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Cevdet Cengiz and Mustafa Levent Ince

Background:

The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of a social-ecologic intervention on health-related fitness (HRF) knowledge and behaviors of students (n = 62) living in rural areas.

Methods:

A prepost test control group design was constructed. In addition, qualitative data were collected by focus group discussions in the experimental group. Physical activity environment of a middle school was changed based on the social-ecologic model (SEM) with a focus on intrapersonal, interpersonal, community level, organizational factors, and public policies related to physical activity behavior. Health related fitness knowledge (HRFK) test, pedometer, and perceived physical activity self-efficacy and social support questionnaires were used for data collection.

Results:

Experimental group had significant improvement in HRF knowledge scores, physical activity levels, and social support compared with the control school students. The focus group results also supported the quantitative findings by indicating a perceived increase in physical activity opportunities; knowledge sources; and support from others.

Conclusions:

This study underlines the importance and positive outcomes of SEM in improving HRF knowledge, physical activity level, and social support of students in rural middle school settings.

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Chad S.G. Witcher, Nicholas L. Holt, John C. Spence and Sandra O’Brien Cousins

The purpose of this study was to assess rural older adults’ perceptions of leisure-time physical activity and examine these perceptions from a historical perspective. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 10 inhabitants (mean age 82 years) of Fogo Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and subjected to inductive analysis. Member-checking interviews were conducted with 5 participants. Findings indicated that beginning in childhood, participants were socialized into a subculture of work activity. As a result of these historical and social forces, leisure-time physical activity did not form part of the participants’ lives after retirement. Strategies for successful aging involved keeping busy, but this “busyness” did not include leisure-time physical activity. Results demonstrated the importance of developing a broader understanding of how past and present-day contexts can influence participation in leisure-time physical activity.

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Russell R. Pate, Stewart G. Trost, Marsha Dowda, Alise E. Ott, Dianne S. Ward, Ruth Saunders and Gwen Felton

This study examined the tracking of selected measures of physical activity, inactivity, and fitness in a cohort of rural youth. Students (N = 181, 54.7% female, 63.5% African American) completed test batteries during their fifth- (age = 10.7 ± 0.7 years), sixth-, and seventh-grade years. The Previous Day Physical Activity Recall (PDPAR) was used to assess 30-min blocks of vigorous physical activity (VPA), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), TV watching and other sedentary activities, and estimated energy expenditure (EE). Fitness measures included the PWC 170 cycle ergometer test, strength tests, tnceps skinfold thickness, and BMI. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs) for VPA, MVPA, and after-school EE ranged from 0.63 to 0.78. ICCs ranged from 0.49 to 0.71 for measures of inactivity and from 0.78 to 0.82 for the fitness measures. These results indicate that measures of physical activity, inactivity, and physical fitness tend to track during the transition from elementary to middle school.