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Am J Prev Med. 2004 Jul;27(1):28-34.

A community-based approach to promoting walking in rural areas.

Author information

1
Department of Community Health and Prevention Research Center, School of Public Health, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, Missouri, USA. brownson@slu.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Ecologic models are often recommended to promote physical activity, yet sparse data exist on their effectiveness.

DESIGN:

A quasi-experimental design examined changes in walking behavior in six rural intervention communities in the Missouri "bootheel" region and in six comparison communities in Arkansas and Tennessee.

SETTING/ PARTICIPANTS:

The communities ranged in population from 2399 to 17,642; interventions focused on adults aged >/=18 years.

INTERVENTION:

Interventions were developed with community input and included individually tailored newsletters, interpersonal activities that stressed social support, and community-wide events such as walk-a-thons.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Primary outcomes were rates of walking-trail use, total number of minutes walked in the past week, and total minutes walked for exercise.

RESULTS:

Among persons who used trails at baseline (16.9% of the total population), 32.1% reported increases in physical activity since they began using the trail. From community-wide samples, two subgroups indicated a positive net change in rates of 7-day total walking: people with high school degrees or less and people living in households with annual incomes of <==$20,000. However, no studied group showed a statistically significant net intervention effect.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although there was an increase in the rate of walking-trail use, a community-wide change in walking rates in rural communities was not documented. Results of this study should provide guidance for future projects.

PMID:
15212772
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2004.03.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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