Online Program

Previous and current influence of rural living on lesbians' risks for overweight and obesity

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

K. Nikki Barefoot, Psy.D., Rural Health Research Institute, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
K. Bryant Smalley, PhD, PsyD, MBA, Rural Health Research Institute, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA
Jacob Warren, PhD, MBA, Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities, Mercer University School of Medicine, Macon, GA
Purpose:To separately examine past (i.e., rural or non-rural background) and present (i.e., current rural or urban location) influences of rurality on the weight status and diet/exercise behaviors of lesbians.

Methods:A total of 895 lesbians participated in the online study. Participants were surveyed regarding their rurality status, weight/height, and diet/exercise patterns. A 2x2 (location x background) ANCOVA was conducted to explore influences of rurality on BMI, while controlling for age, race, and education. Chi-square analyses were used to examine the relationship between dimensions of rurality and diet/exercise behaviors.

Results: Even when controlling for age, race, and education, a significant main effect of rural location on BMI emerged. No significant interaction between location and background on BMI was found nor was there a significant main effect of background. Lesbians currently living in rural areas (M = 30.61) had higher BMIs and were more likely to be obese than urban-residing lesbians (M= 28.53).The only significant differences that emerged for lesbians’ diet/exercise patterns were for current location—more rural-residing lesbians reported that they never engage in exercise; with a greater percentage of urban-residing lesbians reporting frequent exercise.  Rural lesbians were also more likely to report a diet high in protein.

 Conclusion: Findings suggest that current rather than past influences of rurality may have a significant impact on lesbians’ weight and diet/exercise behaviors and highlight significant obesity-related health disparities for rural-residing lesbians. These findings offer support for the development of culturally-appropriate healthy diet/exercise and weight promotion efforts that are accessible to rural lesbians.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the unique health-related vulnerabilities faced by rural lesbians. Discuss rural-urban differences in diet/exercise patterns and weight among lesbians.

Keyword(s): Rural Health, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I possess a doctorate of clinical psychology (Psy.D.) and have conducted extensive research examining rural-urban differences in health-related behaviors and outcomes. I additionally work as a postdoctoral researcher on the grant that partially supported the study.
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.