Online Program

Parent Perceptions of a Children's Physical Activity Initiative in a Rural Community

Monday, November 2, 2015

Katie Leslie, PhD, MS, Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Kristi King, PhD, CHES, Department of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Richard W. Wilson, DHSc, MPH, Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health and Information Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Patricia Gagne, PhD, Department of Sociology, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
V. Faye Jones, MD, PhD, MSPH, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY

In 2008, a coalition of community leaders and parents sought to increase access to physical activity opportunities for residents in a rural Kentucky community. To date, a variety of year-round programs conducted at borrowed spaces from local schools have targeted children, utilizing the strategy to first engage children as a way to extend behavior change to other members of the community. This study assessed the influence of child participation in physical activity programs on parent physical activity, and to determine potential methods of intervention to increase adult physical activity in a rural community.


Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with parents of children who participated in the physical activity programs. Constructs from social cognitive theory and the social ecological model provided sensitizing concepts that were investigated during data collection. Data were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim and analyzed using a grounded theoretical approach.


Findings revealed increased community awareness surrounding physical activity following program implementation. In addition to increased physical activity levels, children experienced social growth through program participation. Parents and children encouraged and motivated each other to be physically active, though younger children initiated joint physical activity more often than adolescents. Barriers to adult physical activity, including a lack of community spaces for families to be physically active together, were identified.


These findings indicated a bidirectional influence between parent and child physical activity behaviors and the need for community recreational facilities where both children and adults can be physically active together.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe one way to increase community awareness surrounding physical activity. Identify three bariers to adult physial activity in rural communities.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Rural Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This submission presents the results of my disseration research in health promotion and behavioral sciences. My research interests focus on community efforts to improve health in underserved populations.
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.