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Health Promot Perspect. 2016 Oct 1;6(4):185-189. eCollection 2016.

Sex differences in the physical inactivity and health-related quality of life relationship among rural adults.

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


Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between physical inactivity (PIA) and health-related quality of life (HRQOL) in rural adults and examine the extent to which sex differences exist in this relationship. Methods: A total of 5617 adults 18 years of age and older who indicated residing in a rural county was included in this analysis. PIA status was assessed by questions regarding recreational physical activity during the previous month. Five HRQOL measures (physical health, mental health, inactivity health, general health, & unhealthy days) were used as primary outcome variables. PIA and HRQOL prevalence estimates were computed with 95% CIs. Multiple logistic regression was used to obtain odds ratios (ORs) and 95% CIs adjusted for age, ethnicity, and income. Results: Physically inactive rural adults were significantly more likely to report poor HRQOL in all overall crude models with ORs ranging from 1.59 to 2.16. Additionally, sex-by-PIA interactions were significant across all crude HRQOL models with ORs ranging from 2.27 to 3.08 and 1.56 to 2.42 for women and men, respectively. Sex differences were maintained in fully adjusted models, except for mental health and inactivity health with ORs ranging from 1.80 to 2.58 and 1.41 to 1.79 for women and men, respectively. Conclusion: Results from this study show that PIA is a strong predictor of poor HRQOL even after controlling for confounding variables. Furthermore, physically inactive rural women appear more likely to report poor levels of HRQOL than physically inactive rural men.


Health disparities; Health-related quality of life (HRQOL); Physical inactivity; Population health; Rural health

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