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Qualitative Exploration of Cultural Influence on a Rural Health-Promotion Initiative

  • Nekeisha L. Randall
    Affiliations
    Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy, Mary Frances Early College of Education, University of Georgia, Athens, GA

    Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
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  • Catherine E. Sanders
    Correspondence
    Address for correspondence: Catherine E. Sanders, MS, Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, 145B Four Towers, Athens, GA 30602
    Affiliations
    Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
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  • Alexa J. Lamm
    Affiliations
    Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
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  • Alison C. Berg
    Affiliations
    Department of Nutritional Sciences, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
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Published:January 18, 2023DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.10.011

      Abstract

      Objective

      To develop a conceptualization of cultural influence on perceptions of a rural food and physical activity policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change project to inform public health research and practice.

      Design

      Basic qualitative research design, semistructured phone interviews with community health coalition members.

      Setting

      Five rural Southern counties (obesity prevalence > 40%).

      Participants

      Thirty-nine community coalition members.

      Intervention

      The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention High Obesity Program. PSE initiatives to increase access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities through a community coalition model.

      Phenomenon of Interest

      Social norms and cultural influences surrounding community members’ food preferences, physical activity behavior, and future hopes for community development.

      Analysis

      Abductive content analysis.

      Results

      Major categories on food social norms (subcategories: physical health, eating habits, and food preference), race relations, generational factors, physical activity social norms, and hopes for the community (subcategories: increased engagement, health, awareness, cohesion, and inspiration) were discussed in relation to the progress of PSE initiatives.

      Conclusions and Implications

      Because of community member perceptions, PSE initiatives became associated with factors beyond food and fitness, such as race relations, generational differences, and community cohesion. A focus on increased youth and church involvement, community values, relationship building, and input from diverse voices can be foundational to culturally-appropriate PSE efforts in rural settings.

      Key Words

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