199200 Barriers and facilitators for physical activity in rural and urban middle school youth

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 9:00 AM

Stephanie B. Jilcott, PhD , Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Justin B. Moore, PhD, MS , Department of Public Health, Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Kindal A. Shores, PhD , Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC
Kelly R. Evenson, PhD , Department of Epidemiology, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Daniel A. Rodriguez, PhD , Department of City and Regional Planning, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
Ross C. Brownson, PhD , Prevention Research Center in Saint Louis, George Warren School of Social Work, Washington University School of Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Introduction: Adolescent youth are not currently meeting the recommended levels for physical activity (PA). This qualitative study examined barriers and facilitators for PA in rural and urban middle school youth.

Methods: Thirteen focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted with youth and parents in eastern North Carolina (n=6 youth FGD, 6-11 participants/FGD; n=7 parent FGD, 6-10 participants/FGD). Participants were recruited through middle schools. Youth and parent FGDs were held concurrently at each school (n = 3). Group meetings were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Nvivo (Version 8) was used to organize and manage focus group transcripts. Independent coders coded all transcripts and identified significant themes regarding PA barriers and facilitators among youth.

Results: The main youth PA barriers reported by parents included (1) the distance to and cost of using PA facilities, (2) crime/ danger, and (3) the appeal of television/ video games. Rural and urban parents conceptualized crime differently, with rural parents concerned about abduction and urban parents concerned about gang-related crime. The primary barriers discussed by youth were (1) policies related to school-based PA and (2) neighborhood crime/danger. The primary PA facilitators mentioned by both youth and parents were social interaction and available facilities. Focus group participants mentioned a desire for the following future PA venues: places to socialize; low-cost indoor facilities; and an improved public transportation system.

Conclusions: PA barriers and facilitators existed on multiple levels of the social ecological framework. Potential intervention strategies include increasing available PA facilities in urban “downtown” and rural areas, and increasing school-based PA.

Learning Objectives:
-Discuss primary barriers and facilitators to youth physical activity. -Evaluate potential environmental and policy intervention strategies to support physical activity among urban and rural youth.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Wrote grant, collected data
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.