• A systematic review of lifestyle interventions for chronic diseases in rural communities

      Smith, A Selina; Ansa, Benjamin; Augusta University (Georgia Public Health Association, 2016)
      Background: Rural Americans suffer disproportionately from lifestyle-related chronic diseases (e.g., obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and breast cancer). Interventions that consider the distinctive characteristics of rural communities (e.g., access to healthcare, income, and education) are needed. As an initial step in planning future research, we completed a systematic review of dietary intake and physical activity interventions targeting rural populations. Methods: Manuscripts focused on dietary intake and physical activity and published through March 15, 2016, were identified by use of PubMed and CINAHL databases and MeSH terms and keyword searches. Results: A total of 18 studies met the inclusion criteria. Six involved randomized controlled trials; 7 used quasi-experimental designs; 4 had a pre-/post-design; and 1 was an observational study. Eight studies were multi-site (or multi-county), and 3 focused on churches. Primary emphasis by racial/ethnic group included: African Americans (6); Whites (2); Hispanics (3); and two or more groups (7). Most studies (17) sampled adults; one included children. Two studies targeted families. Conclusions: Additional lifestyle intervention research is needed to identify effective approaches promoting healthy diet and exercise and chronic disease prevention in rural communities. Studies that include rigorous designs, adequate sample sizes, and generalizable results are needed to overcome the limitations of published studies.