Madeline L. Rheault1, Grace L. Vogt1, Benjamin Juckett1, Victoria Palzkill1, Hannah Zavoral1, Corey Hannah1, Jeffrey M. Janot1. Subjectively Measured Occupational Physical Activity and Barriers/Attitudes toward Physical Activity among Rural Communities. 1Department of Kinesiology, University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Eau Claire, WI, USA.


Introduction: There is a distinct disparity as it relates to physical activity levels and leisure time physical activity in rural populations. There are many barriers to physical activity accessibility that have been identified, as well as many potential interventions that could be used to reduce this disparity. It has been determined that there is a significant disparity in health outcomes in rural communities, however, due to the heterogeneity of the population, the cause of these disparities is still yet to be identified. The purpose of this study was to better elucidate the reasons for these distinct disparities and to use the information gathered to produce better targeted messaging for those individuals who do not have occupational physical activity as a part of their daily life. Methods: A cohort of 102 participants (15 male, 86 female; age range 18-76 years) completed an online survey tool comprising previously validated survey tools such as the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) in addition to a validated general health history and lifestyle questionnaire (HHQ). When considering trends observed in previous research regarding where certain resources are lacking in rural communities, questions were added from the Saint Louis Environment and Physical Activity Instrument. Results: Overall survey response rate was 59%, with individuals from 26 different counties across 6 different states throughout the Midwest. T-test analysis showed a significant (p < .05) difference between those with heavily active occupations and those reporting sedentary occupations in vigorous-intensity work time, moderate-intensity work time, and walking time throughout the week. Those with heavily active occupations, on average, achieved 261.9 min/wk vigorous activity, 395 min/wk of moderate activity, and 17.3 min/wk of walking. This was significantly greater than those with sedentary occupations who, in comparison, reported only 31.9 min/wk of vigorous activity, 74.8 min/wk of moderate activity, and 5.1 min/wk of walking. Chi-squared analysis assessing the relationship between occupation type and depression prevalence showed no significant difference in depression rates between occupational groups. Conclusion: These data suggest that individuals who have a physically demanding occupation fulfill American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) national activity guidelines, whereas those with sedentary occupations do not engage in adequate physical activity levels throughout the week.