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J Lifestyle Med. 2016 Mar;6(1):1-6. doi: 10.15280/jlm.2016.6.1.1. Epub 2016 Mar 31.

Meeting Recommended Levels of Physical Activity and Health-Related Quality of Life in Rural Adults.

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Health Promotion, Montana State University - Northern, Havre, MT, USA; Research and Statistical Consultant, Health Demographics, Havre, MT, USA.



Little is known about physical activity (PA) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) among rural adults. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between meeting recommended levels of PA and HRQOL in a rural adult population.


This study analyzed data from 6,103 rural adults 18 years of age and older participating in a 2013 survey. Respondents reporting at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity (or moderate-vigorous combination) PA during the past month were categorized as meeting PA guidelines. Five health variables were used to assess HRQOL. A continuous HRQOL ability score was also created using item response theory (IRT).


Rural adults who met recommended levels of PA were significantly more likely to report good HRQOL in adjusted models of physical health (OR: 1.99; 95% CI: 1.54-2.56), mental health (OR: 1.96; 95% CI: 1.46-2.64), inactivity health (OR: 2.14; 95% CI: 1.54-2.97), general health (OR: 1.69; 95% CI: 1.35-2.13), and healthy days (OR: 1.98; 95% CI: 1.58-2.47), compared to those who did not meet recommended levels. Furthermore, rural adults meeting recommended levels of PA also had a significantly greater HRQOL ability score (51.7 ± 0.23, Mean ± SE), compared to those not meeting recommended levels (48.4 ± 0.33, p < .001).


This study found that meeting recommended levels of PA increases the likelihood of reporting good HRQOL in rural adults. These results should be used to promote the current PA guidelines for improved HRQOL in rural populations.


Health-related quality of life (HRQOL); Item-response theory (IRT); Physical activity; Rural health

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