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Bridget Wages1, Jeffrey Burns2, Erin Blocker1, Eric Vidoni2, Andrew C. Fry3, & Taylor Heins1 1Emporia State University, Emporia, KS; 2University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Fairway, Kansas; 3University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Rural Americans (RA) report significantly higher percentages of obesity and chronic disease than their more populated, urban counterparts. However, rural individuals face different barriers to physical activity and exercise than their urban counterparts. Clinicians know that exercise has been shown to be a powerful tool for reducing the risk of chronic diseases and cognitive decline. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to test the ability of the SMART Aging curriculum to increase physical activity in rural Kansas communities. METHODS: 69 healthy, older, underactive adults (ages 50-85 years) participated in this study. Subjects were randomly assigned to one of three groups: Education (E), Education + Exercise (E+E) or Control (C). During the 10 week study, subjects received either one weekly education seminar, presented by the research team (E), education in addition to three weekly supervised exercise sessions (E+E) or no intervention (C). All subjects received a physical activity tracking device, used to measure their daily step count. Changes in physical activity, reported as average weekly step counts were tracked over the course of 10 weeks. The research team hypothesized that both of the experimental groups (E and E+E) would increase physical activity levels after 10 weeks, and that the E+E group would see the largest improvement between those two groups. RESULTS: Average percent change from week 1 to week 10 for each group are as follows: E+E=15.11± 53.5%, E=5.2±46.5%, and C=-1.08±19.6%. A one-way ANOVA found no significant difference between the percent change of the step count averages among the three groups (p=.606). CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that no significant improvements in physical activity, as determined by step counts, were seen among the groups. Longitudinal studies are necessary to determine long-term interventions to significantly increase physical activity in rural Kansas.

This study was made possible through generous funding from the following sources:

Walter S. & Evan C. Jones Foundation

KVOE, Emporia, KS

PT Associates

Emporia Fitness

United Way of the Flint Hills

Emporia State University Undergraduate Research Program

University of Kansas Alzheimer’s Disease Center

K-INBRE P20GM103418

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