Examining Key Stakeholder and Community Residents’ Understanding of Environmental Influences to Inform Place-Based Interventions to Reduce Obesity in Rural Communities, Kentucky 2015

Alison Gustafson, Margaret McGladrey, Emily Liu, Nicole Peritore, Kelly Webber, Brooke Butterworth, Ann Vail

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Purpose: Rural residents report high rates of obesity, physical inactivity, and poor eating habits. The objectives of this study were to (1) use the collective impact model to guide efforts to elicit community members’ perceptions of county-specific factors influencing high obesity rates; (2) determine the association between utilization of food retail venues and concern about obesity and healthy eating; and (3) determine community members’ utilization of physical activity infrastructure and concern about physical inactivity. Methods: The study was conducted in 6 rural counties in Kentucky with adult obesity prevalence rates >40%. Community stakeholders met to assess counties’ needs and assets in implementing interventions to reduce obesity in their communities. A random-digit dial survey (n = 756) also was conducted to examine awareness and availability of community resources for healthy eating and physical activity. Findings: Stakeholders identified lack of access to fruits and vegetables and poor physical activity infrastructure as contributors to obesity. Reporting moderate and serious concern about obesity and healthy eating was associated with higher odds of shopping at a supercenter compared with those expressing little concern. Reported access to information about physical activity opportunities was associated with higher odds of reporting the availability of safe places for physical activity, sidewalks, and trails compared with those who reported that information was difficult to obtain. Conclusions: This study elicits community-identified barriers to healthy behaviors and provides foundational data to inform future place-based obesity reduction interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-395
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sep 1 2018
Externally publishedYes



  • barriers to healthy behaviors
  • community networks
  • community resources
  • obesity
  • rural

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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