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