A qualitative examination of home and neighborhood environments for obesity prevention in rural adults

Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education, Emory Prevention Research Center, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity (Impact Factor: 3.68). 01/2009; 5:65. DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-5-65
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The home and neighborhood environments may be important in obesity prevention by virtue of food availability, food preparation, cues and opportunities for physical activity, and family support. To date, little research has examined how home and neighborhood environments in rural communities may support or hinder healthy eating and physical activity. This paper reports characteristics of rural homes and neighborhoods related to physical activity environments, availability of healthy foods, and family support for physical activity and maintaining an ideal body weight.
In-depth interviews were conducted with 60 African American and White adults over 50 years of age in two rural counties in Southwest Georgia. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and coded independently by two members of the research team using standard methods of qualitative analysis. Themes were then identified and data matrices were used to identify patterns by gender or race.
Neighborhood features that supported physical activity were plenty of land, minimal traffic and living in a safe and friendly neighborhood. The major barrier was lack of recreational facilities. The majority of participants were not physically active with their family members due to schedule conflicts and lack of time. Family member-initiated efforts to encourage physical activity met with mixed results, with refusals, procrastination, and increased activity all reported. Participants generally reported it was easy to get healthy foods, although cost barriers and the need to drive to a larger town for a supermarket with good variety were noted as obstacles. Family conversations about weight had occurred for about half of the participants, with reactions ranging from agreement about the need to lose weight to frustration.
This study suggests that successful environmental change strategies to promote physical activity and healthy eating in rural neighborhoods may differ from those used in urban neighborhoods. The findings also provide insight into the complexities of family support for physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight. Addressing socio-ecologic factors has the potential to increase healthy behaviors and decrease the prevalence of obesity among rural residents.

Download full-text


Available from: Cam Escoffery, Oct 22, 2014
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We explore weight loss stories from 47 men collected from the Australian edition of Men's Health magazine between January 2009 and December 2012. Our analysis uses a mixed methods approach that combines thematic analysis and descriptive statistics to examine weight loss strategies against clinical practice guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity. All the stories reported the use of physical activity for weight loss and most stories detailed dietary changes for weight loss. Our findings indicate that most of the men reportedly used some form of behavioural strategies to assist them in their behaviour change efforts. The weight loss methods used were consistent with clinical practice guidelines, with the exception of some dietary practices. As narratives may assist with behaviour change, stories like those examined in this study could prove to be very useful in promoting weight loss to men.
    03/2014; 2(1):252-267. DOI:10.1080/21642850.2014.891947
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Qualitative research can be used to examine multiple factors associated with physical activity and help practitioners identify language used by the rural adult population when discussing this behavior. Three focus groups were conducted among 19 residents of multiple towns in a rural Midwestern county to examine the language and influences on rural physical activity. Focus group members were asked to define physical activity, exercise, community, and neighborhood. They were asked about the activities they engaged in and facilitators and barriers to those activities. A guidebook was developed to capture major themes and common patterns that emerged in the responses to the topics discussed. The data were reviewed for repeated statements and points that were agreed on by multiple participants. Important factors associated with physical activity include the importance of social support and modeling physical activity behavior. Also, the influence of pets and children was important for engaging these adults in physical activity. The focus group members engaged in walking and bicycling in their neighborhood streets and community trails, and desired to see community buildings be open to the public for exercise. This study revealed contextual issues and culturally relevant language for practitioners to use in tailoring physical activity measurement tools or designing interventions for a rural adult population. Social support (specifically, seeing others being active and using pets as motivators for being active) and policy attitudes may be targeted for interventions to increase physical activity in rural adults.
    Health Promotion Practice 03/2014; DOI:10.1177/1524839914524958 · 0.55 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: It has been recognized that the availability of foods in the home are important to nutritional health, and may influence the dietary behavior of children, adolescents, and adults. It is therefore important to understand food choices in the context of the household setting. Considering their importance, the measurement of household food resources becomes critical.Because most studies use a single point of data collection to determine the types of foods that are present in the home, which can miss the change in availability within a month and when resources are not available, the primary objective of this pilot study was to examine the feasibility and value of conducting weekly in-home assessments of household food resources over the course of one month among low-income Mexicano families in Texas colonias. We conducted five in-home household food inventories over a thirty-day period in a small convenience sample; determined the frequency that food items were present in the participating households; and compared a one-time measurement with multiple measurements.After the development and pre-testing of the 252-item culturally and linguistically- appropriate household food inventory instrument that used direct observation to determine the presence and amount of food and beverage items in the home (refrigerator, freezer, pantry, elsewhere), two trained promotoras recruited a convenience sample of 6 households; administered a baseline questionnaire (personal info, shopping habits, and food security); conducted 5 in-home assessments (7-day interval) over a 30-day period; and documented grocery shopping and other food-related activities within the previous week of each in-home assessment. All data were collected in Spanish. Descriptive statistics were calculated for mean and frequency of sample characteristics, food-related activities, food security, and the presence of individual food items. Due to the small sample size of the pilot data, the Friedman Test and Kendall's W were used to assess the consistency of household food supplies across multiple observations. Complete data were collected from all 6 Mexicano women (33.2y +/- 3.3; 6.5 +/- 1.5 adults/children in household (HH); 5 HH received weekly income; and all were food insecure. All households purchased groceries within a week of at least four of the five assessments. The weekly presence and amounts of fresh and processed fruits and vegetables, dairy, meats, breads, cereals, beverages, and oils and fats varied. Further, the results revealed the inadequacy of a one-time measurement of household food resources, compared with multiple measures. The first household food inventory as a one-time measure would have mistakenly identified at least one-half of the participant households without fresh fruit, canned vegetables, dairy, protein foods, grains, chips, and sugar-sweetened beverages. This study highlights the value of documenting weekly household food supplies, especially in households where income resources may be more volatile. Clearly, the data show that a single HFI may miss the changes in availability--presence and amount--that occur among low-income Mexicano households who face challenges that require frequent purchase of foods and beverages. Use of multiple household food inventories can inform the development and implementation of nutrition-related policies and culturally sensitive nutrition education programs.
    BMC Public Health 07/2010; 10:445. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-10-445 · 2.32 Impact Factor