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Rural populations suffer disproportionate risks from chronic disease burdens. For example, rural residency has been identified as a risk factor for children being overweight or obese and obesity is markedly higher among adults from rural versus urban areas of the United States.
Contextual characteristics in rural populations (e.g. food, physical activity and social environments) likely play an important role in shaping this elevated risk; however, little research has examined these environmental factors in rural population. Much of the research evidence from urban areas does not translate directly to rural areas.
We are working with the GROW Health Kids & Communities project to examine how participatory data collection methods can be used to map the resource environment in rural communities, promote community change, and be integrated within traditional epidemiological research.