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:


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Forthofer, M., Burroughs-Girardi, E., Stoisor-Olsson, L., Wilcox, S., Sharpe, P.A., Pekuri, L.M. (2016). Use of formative research and social network theory to develop a group walking intervention: Sumter County on the Move! Evaluation and Program Planning, 58, 28-34. PMID: 27268867

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Wilcox, S., Forthofer, M., Sharpe, P.A., Hutto, B. (2015). Characteristics of walking group leaders as compared to walking group members in a community-based study. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 12(6 Suppl 1), S26-S30. PMID: 26083073

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

Schoffman D.E., Kaczynski A.T., Forthofer M., Wilcox S., Hutto B., Child S.T., Hughey S.M.. (2015). Longitudinal associations with changes in outdoor recreation area use for physical activity during a community-based intervention. Preventive Medicine, 67, 29-32. PMID: 26096192

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

Sharpe, P., Burroughs, E., Hooker, S., Pekuri, L., Blumberg, C., Hutto, B.  (2011). Promoting a bicycle-friendly environment: community assessment and action. Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education and Action, 5(2), 151-9. PMID: 21623017

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