CORE RESEARCH PROJECT: CREATING WALKING PROGRAMS IN RURAL COMMUNITIES

FUNDING SOURCE: CDC 2009-2014

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: Melinda Forthofer, PhD

CO-INVESTIGATORS:

Through the PRC’s core research project, Sumter County On The Move! (SCOTM!), the University of South Carolina (Columbia) Prevention Research Center (USC PRC) partnered with Sumter County Active Lifestyles (SCAL) to investigate whether strategies for mobilizing, supporting, and reinforcing existing social networks are effective for increasing physical activity levels among residents of  Sumter County, SC.  Program participants were guided in forming walking groups of 4-8 members from their existing social networks. Teams registered with the walking program and identified a leader to participate in leadership training workshops and/or serve as point of contact for distribution of information and materials.  Program content included workshops on topics such as walking resources in the community, strategies for staying motivated and keeping team members motivated, tips for overcoming common barriers, and health and safety information.  Social media was used to share information and maintain interest in walking and the program.  The evaluation of this walking intervention will employed a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design, in which participants were be assessed at enrollment in the intervention (baseline), 6-months after enrollment, and again 6-months after program completion. Measures at each time point included survey instruments to assess awareness, attitudes, perceptions of social support and self-efficacy, as well as physical activity assessments through 7-day accelerometry.

For downloadable walking group materials from the project, visit: http://prevention.sph.sc.edu/Resources/SCOTM.html.

For more information, visit: www.sumtercountymoves.org.

PUBLICATIONS:

* Student author. ** Community partner author

Granner, M.L., Sharpe, P.A., Burroughs, E.L., Fields, R., Hallenbeck, J. Newspaper content analysis in evaluation of a community-based participatory project to increase physical activity. Health Education Research 2010;25(4):656-67.

Sharpe, P., Burroughs, E., Hooker, S., **Pekuri, L., **Blumberg, C., Hutto, B. Promoting a bicycle-friendly environment: community assessment and action. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action 2011;5(2):151-9.

*Banda, J.A., Wilcox, S., Colabianchi, N., Hooker, S.P., Kaczynski, A.T., Hussey, J. The associations between park environments and park use in southern US communities. Journal of Rural Health 2014;30(4):369-78.

*Schoffman D.E., Wilcox S., Kaczynski A.T., *Child S., Barr-Anderson D.J., Sharpe P.A., Forthofer M.  Predicting outdoor recreation area use in a Southeastern US county: a signal detection analysis. Journal of Community Health. 2014;39(6):1101-8. [Epub ahead of print] doi: 10.1007/s10900-014-9860-8 PMID: 24627153

Wilcox, S., Forthofer, M., Sharpe, P.A., Hutto, B. Characteristics of walking group leaders as compared to walking group members in a community-based study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health 2014. Epub ahead of print. J Phys Act Health. 2015. 12(6 Suppl 1): S26-S30.

*Child S., *Schoffman D.E., Kaczynski A.T., Baruth M., Wilcox S., Sharpe P.A., Forthofer M. Neighborhood attributes associated with the social environment. American Journal of Health Promotion 2015. In press.

*Child, S., Kaczynski, A.T., Sharpe, P.A., Wilcox, S., *Schoffman, D.E., Forthofer, M., Mowen, A.J., Barr-Anderson, D.J.. Demographic differences in perceptions of outdoor recreation areas across a decade. Journal of Park and Recreation Administration. 2015. 33(2): 1-19.

*Schoffman D.E., Kaczynski A.T., Forthofer M., Wilcox S., Hutto B., *Child S.T., *Hughey S.M.. Longitudinal associations with changes in outdoor recreation area use for physical activity during a community-based intervention.