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Nicole Joy Edwards, Billie Giles-Corti, Ann Larson and Bridget Beesley

Background:

Associations between access to environments and levels of physical activity (PA) among adolescents have been established; however the influence of neighborhood design barriers (eg, major roads) on these relationships is less understood.

Methods:

In 2006, adolescents (n = 1304) in rural Western Australia completed the Up4it Physical Activity Survey measuring frequency and duration of organized and nonorganized physical activity by season. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) were used to objectively measure distance to nearest park and beach and busy road barriers en route to these destinations.

Results:

Proximity to parks and beaches was associated with use of these environments for PA among adolescents, but this relationship attenuated after adjustment for presence of a major road. Park and beach use was positively associated with achieving recommended levels of PA. Paradoxically, proximity to these environments was not associated with achieving recommended levels of PA. Results suggest access to parks and beaches is necessary but may be insufficient to achieve recommended levels of PA. These relationships varied by season.

Conclusions:

Strategies should be put in place to encourage use of proximate supportive environments. Planning neighborhoods to reduce barriers to access and interventions to overcome seasonal variations in behavior may improve participation levels among adolescents.

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Joey C. Eisenmann, R. Todd Bartee and Krystal D. Damori

Purpose:

The purposes of this study were (a) to describe the prevalence of participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and overweight and obesity, and (b) to examine the associations between physical activity and weight status in a sample of university students from a rural university.

Methods:

Data from a representative sample of 773 (361 women, 412 men) students participating in the National College Health Assessment Survey were examined. MVPA and height and body mass were self-reported. The body-mass index (BMI) was derived and used to classify subjects as normal, overweight, or obese.

Results:

Approximately 20% of students were inactive (0 d/wk), and 23% met the recommended amount of MVPA (≥5 d/wk). Prevalence of overweight and obesity was, respectively, 35.7% and 8.5% in men and, respectively, 15.6% and 8.2% in women. Analysis of variance revealed the mean BMI was not significantly different across levels of MVPA. Odds ratios showed higher levels of MVPA were significantly associated with lower risk of obesity in men but not women.

Conclusion:

A large percentage of subjects are inactive or insufficiently active, and self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity is significantly related to risk of obesity in men. Future studies should measure habitual physical activity or energy expenditure and body composition. Additional factors affecting obesity, such as television viewing and other sedentary behaviors, dietary intake, and heritability, should also be considered.

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Elaine S. Belansky, Nick Cutforth, Ben Kern and Sharon Scarbro

Background:

To address childhood obesity, strategies are needed to maximize physical activity during the school day. The San Luis Valley Physical Education Academy was a public health intervention designed to increase the quality of physical education and quantity of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during physical education class.

Methods:

Elementary school physical education teachers from 17 schools participated in the intervention. They received SPARK curriculum and equipment, workshops, and site coordinator support for 2 years. A pre/post/post within physical education teacher design was used to measure intervention effectiveness. System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) and a physical education teacher survey were collected 3 times.

Results:

MVPA increased from 51.1% to 67.3% over the 2-year intervention resulting in approximately 14.6 additional hours of physical activity over a school year and 4662 kcal or 1.33 lbs. of weight gain prevention. More time was spent on skill drills and less time on classroom management and free play.

Conclusions:

The San Luis Valley Physical Education Academy succeeded in increasing rural, low-income students’ physical activity. The multicomponent intervention contributed to the program’s success. However, cost-effective approaches are needed to disseminate and implement evidencebased practices aimed at increasing students’ physical activity during the school day.

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Peter Hastie, Oleg Sinelnikov and Danielle Wadsworth

Background:

This study compares the aerobic fitness status of a sample of rural American and Russian children, and examines these findings in light of their out of school physical activity participation.

Methods:

Ten and eleven year old (N = 415) children from both countries completed a 15 m Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) fitness test, and following the test, the children scoring beyond the upper limit of the healthy fitness zone were interviewed with regard to their out-of-school participation in physical activity.

Results:

The Russian students achieved significantly higher scores than American students (P < .001), and males scored higher than females for both countries (P < .001). After examining the profiles of the students 3 apparent themes begin to emerge: Russian students walk to and from school; the students in both settings who achieve a superior fitness level participate in after school physical activity; after school activities for the American students appear to be more recreational orientated than the Russian students, who participate in structured training in sports clubs.

Conclusions:

For the students in this study, it appears that participating in after school activity may have contributed to achieving high levels of aerobic fitness.

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Melissa Moore, Jeni Warburton, Paul D. O’Halloran, Nora Shields and Kingsley

The purpose of this systematic review was to assess the characteristics and effectiveness of community-based interventions designed to increase physical activity participation in older adults (aged 65 years or more) living in rural or regional areas. Relevant peer-reviewed literature was obtained, using four primary electronic search engines, in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement. The initial search identified 4,690 articles. After removal of duplicates and excluded articles, seven articles were included in the review. Few consistencies existed between intervention types, duration, outcome measures, and follow-up. Results provide some evidence to support the effectiveness of community-based interventions that include low- to moderate-intensity exercise to increase physical activity, physical function, and psychological state. However, without more rigorous studies it is difficult to identify the most critical characteristics of community-based interventions for older adults in rural and regional settings.

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Emily Read

Background:

Rural Canadians are at increased risk of metabolic syndrome. Physical inactivity is a primary target for preventing and reversing metabolic syndrome. Adherence to lifestyle interventions may be enhanced using cell phones and self-monitoring technologies. This study investigated the feasibility of a physical activity and self-monitoring intervention targeting high-risk adults in rural Ontario.

Methods:

Rural adults (n = 25, mean = 57.0 ± 8.7 years) with ≥ 2 criteria for metabolic syndrome participated in an 8-week stage-matched physical activity and self-monitoring intervention. Participants monitored blood glucose, blood pressure, weight, and physical activity using self-monitoring devices and Blackberry Smart phones. VO2max, stage of change, waist circumference, weight, blood lipids, and HbA1c were measured at weeks 1, 4, and 8.

Results:

Adherence to self-monitoring was > 94%. Participants’ experiences and perceptions of the technology were positive. Mean stage of change increased 1 stage, physical activity increased 26%, and predicted VO2max increased 17% (P < .05). Significant changes in weight, waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol were found.

Conclusions:

This stage-matched technology intervention for increased physical activity was feasible and effective.

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Fenna Walhain, Marloes van Gorp, Kenneth S. Lamur, Dirkjan H.E.J. Veeger and Annick Ledebt

Background:

Health-related fitness (HRF) and motor coordination (MC) can be influenced by children’s environment and lifestyle behavior. This study evaluates the association between living environment and HRF, MC, and physical and sedentary activities of children in Suriname.

Methods:

Tests were performed for HRF (morphological, muscular, and cardiorespiratory component), gross MC (Körperkoordinations Test für Kinder), fine MC (Movement Assessment Battery for Children), and self-reported activities in 79 urban and 77 rural 7-year-old Maroon children. Urban-rural differences were calculated by an independent sample t test (Mann-Whitney U test if not normally distributed) and χ2 test.

Results:

No difference was found in body mass index, muscle strength, and the overall score of gross and fine MC. However, urban children scored lower in HRF on the cardiorespiratory component (P ≤ .001), in gross MC on walking backward (P = .014), and jumping sideways (P = 0.011). They scored higher in the gross MC component moving sideways (P ≤ .001) and lower in fine MC on the trail test (P = .036) and reported significantly more sedentary and fewer physical activities than rural children.

Conclusions:

Living environment was associated with certain components of HRF, MC, and physical and sedentary activities of 7-year-old children in Suriname. Further research is needed to evaluate the development of urban children to provide information for possible intervention and prevention strategies.

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Nurdiana Zainol Abidin, Wendy J. Brown, Bronwyn Clark, Ahmad Munir Che Muhamed and Rabindarjeet Singh

We evaluated feasibility of physical activity measurement by accelerometry among older Malay adults living in semi-rural areas in Malaysia. Results showed that 95% of 146 participants (aged [SD] 67.6 [6.4] years) were compliant in wearing the accelerometer for at least five days. Fifteen participants were asked for re-wear the accelerometer because they did not have enough valid days during the first assessment. Participants wore the accelerometer an average of 15.3 hr in a 24-hr day, with 6.5 (1.2) valid wear days. No significant difference in valid wear day and time was found between men and women. Participants who are single provide more valid wear days compared with married participants (p < .05), and participants with higher levels of education provide longer periods of accelerometer wearing hours (p < .01). Eighty-seven percent of participants reported ‘no issues’ with wearing the meter. This study suggests that accelerometry is a feasible method to assess the physical activity level among older Malay adults living in semi-rural areas.

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Michelle C. Kegler, Deanne W. Swan, Iris Alcantara, Louise Wrensford and Karen Glanz

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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

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Ian Cook, Marianne Alberts and Estelle V. Lambert

Background:

We describe the effect of 2 different accelerometer cut-points on physical activity (PA) patterns in rural and urban black South African women.

Methods:

Hip-mounted uni-axial accelerometers were worn for 6 to 7 days by rural (n = 272) and urban (n = 16) participants. Twenty-hour (4 AM to 12 AM) PA counts (cts) and volumes (min·day−1) were extracted: sedentary (SED, <100 cts·min−1), light (100–759 cts·min−1), moderate-1 (MOD1, 760–1951 cts·min−1), moderate-2 to vigorous (MOD2VG, ≥1952 cts·min−1), and bouts ≥10 min for ≥760 cts·min−1 (MOD1VGbt) and ≥1952 cts·min−1 (MOD2VGbt).

Results:

Valid data were obtained from 263 rural women and 16 urban women. Total counts and average counts were higher (+80,399 cts·day−1, +98 cts·min−1.day−1) (P < .01), SED lower (−61 min·day−1, P = .0042), MOD1 higher (+65 min·day−1, P < .0001), and MOD1VGbt higher (+19 min·day−1, P = .0179) in rural women compared with urban women. Estimated adherence (≥30 min·day−1 for 5 days·wk−1) was 1.4-fold higher in rural women than urban women for MOD-1VGbt, but 3.3-fold higher in urban women than rural women for MOD2VGbt.

Conclusions:

Rural women accumulate greater amounts of PA than urban women within a particular count band. Depending on which moderate PA cut-point was used to estimate PA public health adherence, rural women could be classified as less physically active than urban women.