Promoting Active Living in Rural Communities

Active transportation and physical activity in rural environments may be difficult to achieve, but context-sensitive solutions can help connect residents with other recreational opportunities through schools and other locations.

  • Rural children and adults have higher rates of obesity but it is unclear if rates of physical activity differ from urban residents.
  • Schools are a key location for physical activity in rural areas.
    • Shared use agreements with schools is a strategy for providing recreational areas in rural communities that do not have a tax base to support parks and open space.
    • Safe Routes to School programs and other transportation options can be adapted to support active transportation and after-school physical activity.
  • This brief summarizes research, mostly qualitative, on the rural built environment and physical activity and obesity. The document provides policy recommendations and a list of audit tools adapted for rural areas.
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