Public Health Intervention: Increasing Physical Activity in an Eastern Kentucky Community

Public Health Intervention: Increasing Physical Activity in an Eastern Kentucky Community

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Obesity is a growing trend that is affecting individuals significantly in the U.S. and throughout the world. “As of 2013, Kentucky ranks 42 in the U.S. for obesity and over the past year the rate of obesity has risen from 30.4 percent to 31.3 percent among its population.”1 Many factors contribute to the rate of obesity in Kentucky, but, in my opinion, the most significant contributing factor to this trend is physical inactivity. I am a resident of a very rural and underdeveloped community in Eastern Kentucky, where a significant portion of the population lives with a triage of comorbidities (diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, and hypertension). I feel that these disease states that plague individuals could be improved significantly with a life style intervention of increasing physical activity. Several barriers that decrease physical activity for our community must be overcome to improve the health of our community, among the most significant of these barriers includes the built environment due to lack of infrastructure, poverty from lack of jobs, and a negative cultural perception on exercise. I would like to lobby to school board members of Johnson Central High School to allow public access of local community members to use school facilities during non-school hours to increase physical activity to improve the health of its community.
The Johnson County school board may be very resistant to the idea of allowing public access for the use of facilities to improve physical activity in the community due to liability concerns. These liability concerns are issues of additional cost, such as having to acquire additional health insurance to cover uninsured persons and for maintenance or damages that could occur to the school faciliti...

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...qualitative examination of perceived barriers and facilitators of physical activity for urban and rural youth. Oxford Journal, 25, 355-367.

6. Spengler, John O. et al. Policies to Promote the Community Use of Schools: A Review of State Recreational User Statutes, 39 Am. J. Prev. med. 81, 86 (2010).

7. Spengler, John O. et al. Liability Concerns and Shared Use of School Recreational Facilities in Underserved Communities, 41 Am. J. Prev. med. 415 (2011), available at

8. Swanson, Mark et al. Formative Research Conducted in Rural Appalachia to Inform a Community Physical Activity Intervention. American Journal of Health Promotion, 26 (3), 143-151.

9. Swanson, Mark et al. Perspectives on Physical Activity and Exercise among Appalachian Youth. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, 10, 42-47 (2013).

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