2010 - Research

Active living for rural children: community perspectives using PhotoVOICE

The purpose of this study is to identify the perceived environmental factors that support or hinder physical activity among rural children to develop testable hypotheses to inform future interventions for reducing unhealthy weight gain and preventing chronic diseases associated with physical inactivity.

  • PhotoVOICE was used to explore active living opportunities and barriers for children living in four low-income, rural U.S. communities. In 2007, parents and elementary school staff received disposable cameras to document their perspective. Using their photographs and narratives, participants developed emergent themes during a facilitated group discussion. Study authors used the Analysis Grid for Environments Linked to Obesity (ANGELO) framework to categorize the themes.
  • Microenvironment themes include physical (e.g., natural features, topography); sociocultural (e.g., isolation); policy (e.g., time for school recess); and economic (e.g., funding for physical activity programs). Macroenvironmental themes related to the built and natural environments and transportation infrastructure.
  • This study identified rural environment elements that community members perceived as influencing children’s physical activity patterns. Certain aspects were unique to rural areas, whereas other urban and suburban factors may be generalizable to rural settings.

Hennessy, E., Kraak, VI., Hyatt, RR., Bloom, J., Fenton, M., Wagoner, C., and Economos, CD. “Active Living for Rural Children: Community Perspectives Using PhotoVoice.”American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 39.6 (2010): 537-545.