Urban-rural leisure-time physical activity and screen-time sedentary behavior differences in the general population and in cancer survivors

Michael C Robertson, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Rural residents face an increased burden of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type II diabetes, and research indicates that this population may engage in less aerobic physical activity than their urban counterparts. This difference in aerobic physical activity has been shown to exist for cancer survivors as well. No previous studies have examined whether these patterns are consistent for muscle strengthening exercise or sedentary behaviors. In addition, no previous research has identified variables that mediate urban-rural status and physical activity/sedentary behavior in the general population or in cancer survivors. This study investigated these important gaps in the literature with a nationally representative dataset.^ This study conducted secondary data analysis on the National Cancer Institute’s 2012 Health Information National Trends Survey. Generalized linear models were used to test for urban-rural health behavior disparities in leisure-time physical inactivity, meeting 150 minutes or more of aerobic physical activity weekly, engaging in muscle strengthening exercise at least two times a week, and screen-time sedentary behavior in the general population and in cancer survivors. Mediation models tested the degree to which various types of motivation to engage in physical activity mediated urban-rural status and physical activity and sedentary behaviors.^ After adjusting for potentially confounding variables, results indicated that rural residents of the general population were more likely to report being physically inactive and less likely to report meeting recommended muscle strengthening activity guidelines. No differences were observed for screen-time sedentary behavior. Odds ratios indicated that rural cancer survivors were at a markedly higher risk of unfavorable physical activity behavior patterns, though findings for this subset were not statistically significant. This study did not provide evidence that motivation to engage in physical activity mediated urban-rural status and physical activity/sedentary behaviors.^ Findings that indicate a health behavior disparity are particularly alarming given that the rural population faces an increased burden of disease and disability for which meeting recommended physical activity guidelines can confer protective effects. Behavioral interventions to increase physical activity and to eliminate disparities between urban and rural residents are needed. Future studies can address these challenges by investigating factors that may mediate urban-rural status and physical activity behaviors.^

Subject Area

Public health

Recommended Citation

Robertson, Michael C, "Urban-rural leisure-time physical activity and screen-time sedentary behavior differences in the general population and in cancer survivors" (2016). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10183291.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI10183291

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