Community Readiness for Leisure-Based Health Promotion: Findings from an Underserved and Racially Diverse Rural Community


  • Julie S. Son
  • Kim J. Shinew
  • I. Shevon Harvey


Health promotion, partnerships, stages of community readiness to change


Rural communities tend to have the poorest health and the fewest resources to address health issues. Promoting healthy leisure lifestyles can help but concerted community-based efforts are needed for success. This study’s purpose was to use the Community Readiness Model (CRM) as a framework to understand rural community leaders’ readiness for a leisure-based health promotion program in their town. The research team conducted semi-structured interviews with 24 community leaders in an impoverished rural community, a community largely consisting of White and African American residents. Results indicated that leaders identified a wide range of health issues associated with leisure time usage, including physical inactivity, poor diet, and chronic health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Study findings also indicate this community had a multitude of opportunities and resources, but also substantial constraints and needs. Given the study findings, the current investigators suggest this community is in the CRM’s preplanning stage, which involves some agreement about leisure-related health issues but with no concerted efforts by community leaders to address the specific problems at hand. As a result, the current investigators have started building a coalition of community members to address physical inactivity with the aim of moving the community into the CRM’s preparation stage on this health issue. The long-term goal of the coalition process is to provide a leisure education and/or leisure-based physical activity program in the community, recognizing that such a program will only be achievable with strong partnerships between the research team, community members, and local organizations.





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