Rural Mothers and Exercise

A new Cancer Center study found that rural mothers perceive specific internal barriers to being adequately physically active.

Focus article photo

Anna Adachi-Mejia, PhD

Physical activity is a key ingredient in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and preventing excessive weight gain, factors that can signifi­cantly reduce cancer risk. The study, published in the Journal of Women's Health, found that specific internal barriers to being adequately physically active prevent some rural mothers from getting proper exercise. Anna Adachi-Mejia, PhD, principal investigator of the study and a member of the Cancer Control Research Program, said, "Our findings suggest that internal barriers for rural mothers such as self-discipline, time, and interest are the most salient barriers to making physical activ­ity a priority in one's life." She noted that mothers living in rural areas may be at risk for exercise deficiency also due to environmental characteristics—having a high dependence on cars, for example.

"We want to know how to modify behaviors to lower a person’s risk of cancer," she commented. "This study helps us understand how to support increased physical activity levels for rural mothers."

April 28, 2011