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Health Educ Res. 2010 Apr;25(2):355-67. doi: 10.1093/her/cyq004. Epub 2010 Feb 18.

A qualitative examination of perceived barriers and facilitators of physical activity for urban and rural youth.

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Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, Carolina University, Greenville, NC 27834, USA.


Many adolescents, both rural and urban, are not meeting the recommended levels for physical activity (PA). This investigation was designed to elicit socioecologic barriers and facilitators for PA in rural and urban middle school youth and their parents. Thirteen focus groups were conducted with 41 youth and 50 parents from eastern North Carolina. Distance, cost, crime/danger and television were mentioned as the primary barriers among parents. Youth mentioned school policies related to PA and crime/danger as the main PA barriers. The most salient facilitators discussed by parents were social/peer facilitators, facilities available and parental role modeling of PA. The primary facilitators mentioned by youth were social outlets and facilities available. Results indicate that intrapersonal, interpersonal, environmental and policy factors related to PA resonated with both youth and parents. Since rural and urban residents often perceive and interact differently with PA environments, more research is needed to properly adapt interventions.

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