• Corbin, Marilyn Ann (PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


What is the Issue: Seventy-five percent of United States health care spending is on chronic disease.The Appalachia region follows thespine of the Appalachia Mountains and has high rates of poverty, umemployment, limited access to healthcare, and behavioral health risks. Fifty-two percent of Pennsylvania counties are in Appalachia. Counties in the central area of the state are isolated and have limited healthcare services. In 2011,twenty-six percent ofthe state's population self-reported that they did not paricipate in physical activity in the last month and only, twenty-eight percent indicated they met the muscle strengthening guidelines in 2011. The top chronic diseases (heart disease and strokes, obesity, diabetes, breast cancer and osteoporosis)are all related to lifestyle factors in which physical activity is highly recommended.Why is this issue important: In rural PA, many older women live alone who need to be able to live as independently as possible. This is a critical concern when their health declines as their lives are shortened due to lack of healthcare and prevention practices. It is to their advantage to increase physical activity to increase muscle strength and flexiility, increasing the ability to do other physical activites on their own including work and to decrease health risks. Chronic health problems are on-going and have become more extremeas society has faced high health risks. People are living longer with serious health issues. On-going prevention health education in rural PA is sporadic. The focus on health in rural areas is on illness rather than on adequate early intervention and prevention. If the current trend is not stopped or reversed, rural PA will likely become more socio-economically depressed, affecting future generations.What is the program method: Extension educators and program site leaders will conduct a series of physical activity and nutrition education classes in ten rural counties with the goal of reaching 400 program participants. Extension will collaborate with community health partners who will refer patients to the program. Participants will receive support tomake appropriate lifestyle changes.How will program be evaluated: All participants will take pre and post fitness assessments and complete surveys about their food intake.What is the ultimate goal: The long term impact is that participants will increase their fitness level and strength, improve their nutrition, and decrease risk of osteoporosis; and therefore live independently longer, experience improved quality of life and decrease private health care costs.What societal benefits may be realized: Considering the escalating costs of health care, increased physical activity can reverse the physical changes related to aging and decrease risk of broken bones which costs about $9600 for five days of treatment. When rural communities lack health care providers and facilities, it is paramount that local residents do all they can to havea healthy lifestyle. When people are healthy, they can remain active in their community and will have a higher quality of life so they can contribute to the life of theircommunity, workand have an active life with their friends and family. Healthy people are less dependent on others for their care, transportation and needs.

Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/15


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture: $186,879.00


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