Physical activity counseling intervention to promote weight loss in overweight rural women

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To identify key behavioral factors that contribute to physical activity and weight management in overweight, rural women and determine the degree to which social support, stage of behavior change, and self-efficacy for physical activity and depressive symptoms are linked to physical activity, body weight, and body mass index (BMI).

Data sources:

Twenty-five overweight or obese rural women completed self-report scales and height and weight measurements; BMI was calculated. Self-report scales included the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (physical activity level), Social Support for Exercise and Social Support Questionnaire (social support), Stage of Exercise Adoption (stage of behavior change), Self-efficacy for Exercise (self-efficacy), and the Patient Health Questionnaire (depressive symptoms).


Higher levels of physical activity were associated with greater self-efficacy and the self-esteem domain of social support. Rural women reported more depressive symptoms over the year. Women did not significantly increase physical activity and gained weight during the 1-year study.

Implications for practice:

Rural women have limited resources available to increase physical activity to facilitate weight loss. Routine screening and treatment for depression in rural women may need to be initiated concurrently with interventions to promote health behavior changes.

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