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A qualitative study of environmental factors important for physical activity in rural adults


Cleland, V and Hughes, C and Thornton, L and Venn, A and Squibb, K and Ball, K, A qualitative study of environmental factors important for physical activity in rural adults, PLoS One, 10, (11) Article e0140659. ISSN 1932-6203 (2015) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

2015 Cleland et al. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0140659


Purpose: Despite increasing evidence that the physical environment impacts on physical activity among urban-dwellers, little attention has been devoted to understanding this relationship in rural populations. Work in this area is further hindered by a lack of environmental measures specifically designed for rural settings. This qualitative study aimed to explore the salience of urban physical activity environment constructs among rural adults.

Methods: In 2011, 49 rural men and women from three distinct areas (coastal, animal-based farming, forestry/plant-based farming) of rural Tasmania, Australia, were purposively recruited to participate in semi-structured interviews. Interviews explored features of the built and social environment commonly examined in studies of urban adults, including functional characteristics (eg, lighting, footpaths, roads/verges), road and personal safety, availability and accessibility of places to be active, destinations, and aesthetics. Interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using a content-thematic approach using QSR NVivo software.

Findings: While some urban environmental constructs were salient to these rural adults, such as availability of and accessibility to places to be active, some constructs were operationalised differently, such as road safety (where large trucks and winding roads rather than traffic density was of concern), or were not considered relevant (eg, personal safety related to crime, availability of walkable destinations, aesthetics).

Conclusions: The measurement of the physical environment in rural populations may require reconsideration and/or modification to ensure salience and appropriate quantification of associations with physical activity in future studies.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Behaviour and health
UTAS Author:Cleland, V (Associate Professor Verity Cleland)
UTAS Author:Hughes, C (Dr Clarissa Hughes)
UTAS Author:Venn, A (Professor Alison Venn)
UTAS Author:Squibb, K (Dr Kathryn Squibb)
ID Code:105008
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:19
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2015-12-02
Last Modified:2017-11-04
Downloads:352 View Download Statistics

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