J Public Health Manag Pract 2016 Sep-Oct;22(5):E11-20
Department of Health, Human Performance, & Recreation, Baylor University, Robbins College of Health and Human Sciences, Waco, Texas (Dr Umstattd Meyer); Department of Family & Community Medicine, Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Dr Moore); Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences; West Virginia University, School of Public Health, Morgantown, West Virginia (Dr Abildso); Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina (Dr Edwards); Department of Pediatrics, The University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Mississippi (Dr Gamble); and Department of Medicine, Preventive Medicine, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama (Dr Baskin).
Rural residents are less physically active than their urban counterparts and disproportionately affected by chronic diseases and conditions associated with insufficient activity. While the ecological model has been successful in promoting and translating active living research in urban settings, relatively little research has been conducted in rural settings. The resulting research gap prohibits a comprehensive understanding and application of solutions for active living in rural America. Therefore, the purpose of this article was to assess the evidence base for an ecological model of active living for rural populations and outline key scientific gaps that inhibit the development and application of solutions. Specifically, we reexamined the 4 domains conceptualized by the model and suggest that there is a dearth of research specific to rural communities across all areas of the framework. Considering the limited rural-specific efforts, we propose areas that need addressing to mobilize rural active living researchers and practitioners into action.