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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Health and Nutritional Sciences

First Advisor

Kendra Kattlemann


The purpose of this study was to assess environmental support of physical activity (PA) in rural areas and to determine whether there is a correlation between the measured environment for PA and the participant perceptions of the environment for PA. The PA environment in four rural, low-income communities in South Dakota and Kansas was assessed using the Active Neighborhood Checklist (ANC) and the Physical Activity Resource Assessment (PARA). Youth (6th – 8th grade) behavior and perceptions related to PA and the local environment were assessed using five questions from previously validated tools. A one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) and a post-hoc Bonferroni were used to determine if there were differences in ANC, PARA, and Perception of the Environment scores. Pearson’s correlations were used to assess associations between the measured PA environments and individual student perceptions. There were no differences in Total ANC or Total PARA among the communities. Perception was weakly correlated with Total ANC (r=0.127, p=0.026, N=308) but not Total PARA. PA perception in rural communities may not match objective measures. Future research should work toward refining and improving existing environmental audit tools and developing new, comprehensive, location-specific tools.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Rural youth
Exercise for youth
Physical fitness for youth
Teenagers and the environment


Includes bibliographical references (pages 45-51)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright