Online Program

Objectively measured physical activity levels of rural, suburban, and urban youth

Monday, November 4, 2013

Justin B. Moore, PhD, MS, FACSM, Department of Health Promotion, Education, & Behavior, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Michael W. Beets, PhD, Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
Sara Morris, MAT, MPH, RD, Chronic Disease and Injury Section, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Raleigh, NC
Mary Bea Kolbe, MPH, RD, Chronic Disease and Injury Section, North Carolina Division of Public Health, Raleigh, NC
Background: Nationally, youth are not achieving 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Studies suggest that rural adults are less active than their urban counterparts, although studies of children are equivocal. The goal of the present study is to describe objectively measured MVPA in rural, suburban, and urban youth. Methods: Youth from 20 counties in North Carolina who provided a minimum of four monitored days of PA (via accelerometer) and demographics were included in the analyses (n = 804, 54% female). Two random-effects regression models were estimated separately for boys and girls. The dependent variable was minutes of MVPA/day continuous and binary (≥60min vs. <60min MVPA/d). Race, monitor wear time, urbanicity (rural, suburban, urban), and grade were added to the model. Results: For boys, there were no differences in MVPA/d among urbanicity categories. However, 4.2min/d decrease in MVPA occurred with each increase in grade. For girls, rural girls accumulated 9.3min MVPA/d and 8.0 min MVPA/d more than suburban and urban girls, respectively. A decline of 3min MVPA/d was observed with every increase in grade. Rural girls were 4.6 times and 2.8 times more likely to accumulate ≥60min MVPA/d compared to suburban and urban girls, respectively. No interactions across all models were significant for boys or girls. Conclusions: Rural girls displayed the highest levels of MVPA/d compared to their suburban and urban counterparts. Regardless of setting, youth displayed lower levels of MVPA/d with increasing grade. Future research should consider urbanicity when investigating correlates/determinants of MVPA in youth.

Learning Areas:

Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe physical activity levels of youth from rural, suburban, and urban areas. Describe physical activity levels by grade in 4th – 8th grade youth. Describe potential determinants that explain geographic variations in physical activity.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Rural Communities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the principal or co-principal investigator of multiple externally funded grants focusing on the epidemiology or promotion of physical activity. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for promoting physical activity for youth in low-resource communities.
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.