142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Factors Contributing to Increased Physical Activity and Improved Nutrition to Improve Wellness among Rural Residents

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Monday, November 17, 2014 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Pat Conway, PhD , Essentia Institute of Rural Health, Duluth, MN
Jennifer Uhrich, MPA , Northern Lights Clubhouse, Ely, MN
Introduction. A collaboration between local, state, and national entities created a physical activity and nutrition program to improve levels of wellness in a rural community. It employed strategies designed for different levels of the social ecology: community education; policy change; environmental adaptations; workplace programs; physical activity and nutrition classes; and a community coalition. This study addresses the research question, What individual, family and community factors contributed to the successful rural program?

Methods. The study used an imbedded, single-case design and mixed methods, guided by community-based participatory principles. Data was collected through focus groups with community children and adults, post-surveys with participants in physical activity and nutrition classes, and social network analysis of coalition partners. Qualitative data was analyzed using NVivo 10 and modified Grounded Theory approach. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS 20.

Results. The three substudies revealed high levels of activity among children and adults; the program’s multi-faceted approach influenced families to change behaviors; the coalition was actively engaged, from policy development to serving healthy foods at weekly farmers markets; and organizational and community policy changes increased access to opportunities for physical activity and improved nutrition. In addition to the active coalition, highly committed, flexible, and entrepreneurial program staff were key factors in program success.

Conclusion. The study identified modifiable factors such as the creation of community coalitions and strategies aimed at different levels of the social ecology. Finding that characteristics of key personnel were essential to the program’s success is much more difficult to replicate in other communities.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Identify individual, family, and community factors that contributed to a successful physical activity and nutrition program in a rural community. Assess the replicability of factors in other rural communities.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Research (CBPR), Wellness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: none

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the enhanced evaluation of the rural physical activity and nutrition program, using CBPR principles. I am a senior research scientist with a health system, and have conducted other similar programs such as cancer screening programs in tribal communities and rural community care teams. We have published one article based on this project, on the substudy on children and physical activity, and will publish these results after the conference.
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.