Physical activity patterns in rural Australian populations: an investigation of the relationship between location of residence and physical activity patterns

Kennaugh, Simon (2015). Physical activity patterns in rural Australian populations: an investigation of the relationship between location of residence and physical activity patterns MPhil Thesis, School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences, The University of Queensland. doi:10.14264/uql.2015.751

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Author Kennaugh, Simon
Thesis Title Physical activity patterns in rural Australian populations: an investigation of the relationship between location of residence and physical activity patterns
School, Centre or Institute School of Human Movement and Nutrition Sciences
Institution The University of Queensland
DOI 10.14264/uql.2015.751
Publication date 2015-06-26
Thesis type MPhil Thesis
Supervisor Wendy Brown
Geeske Peeters
Total pages 68
Language eng
Subjects 111706 Epidemiology
111712 Health Promotion
110699 Human Movement and Sports Science not elsewhere classified
Formatted abstract
Background: Evidence exists in the literature that health is generally worse and physical activity rates are lower in rural Australian residents than in those living in cities. There is also evidence that proximity to facilities is positively correlated with physical activity rates in Metropolitan residents. However, whether this relationship exists in rural residents is unknown. Objectives: The aim of this study was to measure whether there is a relationship between how far rural residents live from facilities and their physical activity patterns. Methods: The study consisted of a secondary data analysis of data from the Physical Activity in Rural Communities (PARC) Study into Physical activity in the three rural QLD districts of Mount Isa, Mareeba and Esk. Linear regression modelling was used to analyse the relationship between proximity to facilities and physical activity patterns. Proximity to facilities was measured by self-reported distance of residence from the nearest post-office, while measures of physical activity in the domains of transport, occupation and leisure were developed from a detailed time use question, combined with information on activity intensity from the compendium of physical activities. Analyses were conducted both unadjusted and adjusted for various socio-demographic factors. Results: In general no relationship was found between proximity to facilities and either total physical activity or transport related physical activity. However, in women there was a weak relationship between location of residence and transport related activity, with those living less than 1Km or 2-4Km from the local post office reporting less transport related activity than those living greater than 10Km away. This relationship was in the opposite direction from that hypothesised and potentially reflects the reporting of activity around rural private properties as transport related activity. Discussion: The lack of an overall relationship between distance from facilities and physical activity patterns in rural residents suggests that the walking, and to a lesser extent cycling, that is done to sufficiently close facilities in cities is less prevalent in rural areas. Anecdotally this assertion is supported by conversations with residents of Esk (one of the study areas) who tend to drive for even very short trips. This finding highlights an area where rural residents are potentially missing out on physical activity. Further research is warranted to attempt to replicate this finding with objective data. If the finding is validated then there could be a case for designing an intervention to attempt to address this deficiency.
Keyword Motor activity
Rural and remote
Health
Physical activity

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Created: Mon, 25 May 2015, 19:40:58 EST by Simon Kennaugh on behalf of Scholarly Communication and Digitisation Service