Online Program

Physical Activity Determinants for Adolescents in a Rural Maine Town and Their Implications for Local Programs and Policies

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 12:30 p.m. - 12:50 p.m.

Rebecca Drewette-Card, DrPH, Public Health Partners, Topsham, ME
William DeJong, PhD, Department of Community Health Sciences, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Introduction: The U.S. DHHS recommends at least 60 minutes of daily physical activity for all youth ages 6-17. Nationally, physical activity rates remain below recommended levels for all age groups, including adolescents. Studies have found that rural adolescents are generally less physically active and more likely to engage in excessive screen time than their urban counterparts, and that they have higher rates of overweight and obesity.

Methods: A community needs assessment was performed to identify the physical activity determinants for adolescents in a rural Maine town. Mixed methods were used including a literature review, an environmental scan involving interviews with key informants, a secondary data analysis, a survey of high school students, and focus groups with both adolescents and parents. A community stakeholder group facilitated implementation of the assessment and assisted with interpreting the data.

Results: Determinants of adolescent physical activity were identified, which the community group then used for local planning efforts. Facilitators of physical activity included family and peer support, sports teams, enjoyment of an activity, and interest in an activity. Barriers to physical activity included ineffective physical education classes, lack of transportation, lack of parental follow-through on family physical activity time, and negative prior experiences with physical activity.

Conclusion: Assessing the unique physical activity determinants for rural adolescents is important for developing and implementing effective interventions that can increase physical activity levels. We will discuss how the community has used these results, with a focus on changes to local policies and practices.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe a community assessment process for identifying physical activity determinants. Identify at least three physical activity determinants for adolescents in a rural Maine community.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This abstract represents work undertaken as part of my dissertation to qualify for the DrPH at Boston University School of Public Health. My primary professional interests are in the areas of physical activity and nutrition promotion and chronic disease prevention. I have spent the last ten years working on these issues in Maine. I hold a MSPH in public health.
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.