Brownson RC, Baker EA, Boyd RL, Caito NM, Duggan K, Housemann RA, Kreuter MW, Mitchell T, Motton F, Pulley C, Schmid TL, Walton D. (2004). A Community-Based Approach to Promoting Walking in Rural Areas. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27(1), 28-34.
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Community Preventive Services Task Force Finding
About the Study
Six intervention communities in rural Missouri and six comparison communities in Arkansas and Tennessee were matched according to size, proportion of population that was African American, and poverty level. The research team worked with community health coalitions and local government to develop walking trails across the six intervention communities. The first walking trail was completed in 1975 and the sixth trail was completed in 1997. Most trails are located in residential parks within the city limits. Trails vary in length from 0.13 miles to 2.38 miles. At two trailheads, electronic devices were installed that allowed trail use to be monitored with infrared technology. Using random digit-dialing, cross-sectional samples were selected from adults in the 12 participating communities to complete baseline surveys. Participants in the intervention communities then received a series of eight (four samples are provided) newsletters tailored to the responses from their survey and in cases where trail-use data was available from the monitored trail heads, the newsletters reported the number and length of recent visits to the trail. All participants were post-tested approximately one year after baseline.
- Between intervention and control communities, no differences were observed in minutes walked in the past week or minutes walked for exercise in the past week.
- Among people who used the trails at baseline (17%), 32% increased their physical activity since they began using the trail.
- In the current study, 17% of intervention community residents reported using a walking trail, compared with 8% in 1998.