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Prev Med. 2010 Jan;50 Suppl 1:S86-92. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.08.018. Epub 2009 Oct 7.

Development of the Rural Active Living Assessment Tools: measuring rural environments.

Author information

1
Maine Rural Health Research Center, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, USA. ayousefian@usm.maine.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Develop rural-specific assessment tools to be used by researchers and practitioners to measure the activity-friendliness of rural communities.

METHOD:

The tools were created through a mixed-methods investigation into the determinants of physical activity among rural populations. This informed the development of a conceptual framework defining activity-friendly rural environments. Questions were generated to reflect applicable existing urban-based variables and rural conceptual model elements. Pilot testing was conducted in seven rural US communities during the fall of 2008. Inter-rater reliability was assessed.

RESULTS:

The Rural Active Living Assessment (RALA) Tools include three components: Town-Wide (18 town characteristic questions, and inventory of 15 recreational amenities), Program and Policy (20 questions), and Street Segment (28 questions). We found that the Town-wide and Program and Policy tools were feasible for community members to implement. The observed agreement and kappa statistic across all items for the Street Segment Assessment were substantial (91.9% and 0.78, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

The RALA Tools were shown to be feasible and reliability was supported. They assess features believed to be supportive of active living in rural environments, offer users a resource to assess rural environments for activity-friendliness, and may also inform the design of interventions to help rural communities become more active and healthy.

PMID:
19818362
DOI:
10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.08.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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