177930 A rural–urban comparison of older adults' physical activity in Central Texas

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 12:42 PM

John Prochaska, MPH , Center for Community Health Development, Texas A&M Health Science Center, College Station, TX
Marcia G. Ory, PhD, MPH , Social & Behavioral Health, Texas A&M HSC School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
James N. Burdine, DrPH , Center for Community Health Development, School of Rural Public Health, College Station, TX
Background: Increased physical activity in older adults is associated with a number of improved health status indicators. However, there are a number of factors serving as barriers or facilitators to increased physical activity levels, and these may vary by rural and urban environments.

Methods: A regional health assessment was conducted in the Brazos Valley in 2005 that included 742 older adults. This survey included questions regarding physical activity levels and frequency of specific types of activity (i.e., any physical activity, strength training, and flexibility activities). Robust multivariate ordinal regression modeling estimated the association of having transportation accessible with increased physical activity levels. Similar modeling estimated the association between strength training and flexibility activities with rural/urban residence and accessibility of transportation.

Results: While physical activity levels did not differ significantly between rural and urban older adults, analyses controlling for demographic covariates indicated having access to transportation improved the odds of older rural adults of having increased physical activity levels (OR= 4.39 (95% CI: 2.64-7.31)). This was not the case for urban older adults. Additionally, while rural older adults appeared significantly less likely to engage in strength training activities compared to their urban counterparts; these differences disappeared in multivariate analyses controlling for transportation and demographics.

Discussion: Rural and urban environments may pose separate, unique challenges to older residents wishing to be physically active. Researchers should further examine these factors, specifically availability and accessibility of resources. Further, interventions related to physical activity in older adults should account for the differences between these environments.

Learning Objectives:
Understand environmental factors influencing rural and urban older adult physical activity levels. Describe the association of access to transportation and availability of places to be physically active with physical activity behavior and levels among older rural and older urban adults.

Keywords: Aging, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I participated in the generation of the original research questions, drafted the majority of the abstract, and assisted with the back-end analyses to generate the results presented within the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Environment and Aging
See more of: Gerontological Health