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J Rural Health. 2009 Spring;25(2):211-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-0361.2009.00220.x.

Extra-individual correlates of physical activity attainment in rural older adults.

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Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27858-4353, USA.



Challenged with a higher incidence of disease, reduced social support, and less access to physical activity facilities and services, rural older adults may find healthy active living a challenge. Despite these challenges, some rural older adults manage to achieve active lifestyles.


This study investigates the relative importance of 4 extra-individual correlates of physical activity to physical activity achievement in rural seniors.


Data were drawn from mail questionnaires completed by 454 adults age 65 and over in 7 rural North Carolina counties.


Results from an analysis of covariance indicate that respondents who approached CDC/ACSM recommended levels of physical activity were significantly more likely to report that they lived within walking distance to parks, perceived they had transportation to physical activity areas, had a partner with whom to be active, and felt activity facilities were safe. Next, 7 extra-individual correlates of physical activity were entered into a backward logistic regression. The resultant model predicting physical activity achievement among rural older adults included social support for physical activity, a safe environment for physical activity, and reported ability to walk to a local park.


Interventions designed to provide social support, heighten safety at activity areas and improve park infrastructure may provide opportunities to increase physical activity among seniors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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