Rural Active Living Work Group
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People engaging in physical activity in a rural setting

Photo by Laura Sandt


The mission of the PAPREN Rural Active Living Work Group is to build a multi-disciplinary network of researchers and practitioners from academia, non-profit organizations, government, and other funding agencies to: 1) increase the amount and quality of active living research and evaluation in rural areas, and 2) facilitate the development and implementation of evidence-informed physical activity practices and policies specific to rural communities.

The strength of our Work Group has been in our ability to collaborate to get work done. To that end, we see our role as three-fold: (1) generate new ideas and collaborations, (2) maintain and foster connections across researchers and practitioners committed to advancing health in rural communities, and (3) complete a core research project each year. We will place an emphasis on facilitating the development and implementation of research ideas and collaborations within our Work Group and with the other PAPREN Work Groups. We welcome additional collaborators on our core research projects, which are listed below:

2020 – Submit manuscript quantifying the factors associated with physical activity guideline prevalence in rural counties (“Positive Deviance”), led by Christiaan Abildso

2021 – Rural comprehensive planning project, led by Lisa Charron from University of Wisconsin – Madison; Rural Comp Plan scorecard, and/or Assessing state policies that mandate comprehensive planning for a) health requirements and b) minimum size of municipality required to do planning (i.e., rurality)

2022 – Rural libraries/physical activity project – led by Noah Lenstra from University of North Carolina Greensboro/Let’s Move in Libraries; specific topic “Understanding rural libraries as partners in the promotion of physical activity: Evidence from a content analysis of rural library Facebook posts made in Summer 2022”

2023 – Physical activity promotion through SNAP-ed programs project – led by Jessica Stroope from Louisiana State University; specific topic: A Multi-State Perspective on Advancing Active Living Contexts through the Cooperative Extension System.

2023 – Rural Active Living: A Call to Action 2.0 – led by Renée Umstattd Meyer from Baylor University; an update of the 2016 paper that outlines the evidence base and key scientific gaps for an ecological model of active living for rural populations.

Cynthia Perry, PhD, FNP-BC, FAHA
Cynthia Perry, PhD, FNP-BC, FAHA
School of Nursing
Oregon Health & Science University
Renée Umstattd Meyer, PhD, MCHES, FAAHB
Renée Umstattd Meyer, PhD, MCHES, FAAHB
Baylor University Department of Public Health
Christiaan Abildso, PhD, MPH
Christiaan Abildso, PhD, MPH
West Virginia University School of Public Health
Marilyn E. Wende, PhD
Marilyn E. Wende, PhD
University of Florida
Department of Health Education & Behavior
Rural Active Living project groups

Next meeting: July 10


Meeting Time

Second Wednesdays 1-2 ET / 12-1 CT / 11-12 MT / 10-11 PT

For meeting access information, contact Marilyn Wende (

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