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The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 34, Issue 1–2, pp 5–15 | Cite as

“Positive Deviants”: A Qualitative Study of Physically Active Adults in Rural Environments

  • Michelle C. Kegler
  • Iris Alcantara
  • Nicole Dubruiel
  • J. K. Veluswamy
  • Hannah Appelbaum
  • Sandy Handwerk
Original Paper

Abstract

Rural residents, particularly those in the South, are less physically active than their urban counterparts and often live in areas with limited walkability (e.g., no sidewalks) and minimal access to recreational facilities. The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of what makes certain rural residents physically active despite their environment. Qualitative interviews (N = 29) were conducted with physically active adults who live in rural areas (e.g., outside of town) in southwest Georgia. Participants were 65.5 % male and 24.1 % African American, with a mean age of 55.9 years. Results suggest that physically active adults in rural areas are motivated by their health and perceive their local surroundings as a resource for physical activity. Understanding how these physically active adults take advantage of their living situations to be physically active has the potential to inform interventions that encourage physical activity in this high-risk population.

Keywords

Physical activity Rural Environments Qualitative 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank members of the Emory Prevention Research Center’s Community Advisory Board for their guidance in the design and implementation of this research. We also wish to thank our study participants for their valuable contributions to this research. This publication was supported by Cooperative Agreement Number # 5U48DP001909 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its contents are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle C. Kegler
    • 1
  • Iris Alcantara
    • 1
  • Nicole Dubruiel
    • 1
  • J. K. Veluswamy
    • 2
  • Hannah Appelbaum
    • 1
  • Sandy Handwerk
    • 3
  1. 1.Emory Prevention Research Center, Rollins School of Public HealthEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.Cancer Coalition of South GeorgiaAlbanyUSA
  3. 3.College of Arts and HumanitiesAlbany State UniversityAlbanyUSA

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