The Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities engages in research that seeks to answer questions about how rural populations can become more physically active. Using a social-ecological research model, the Center supports qualitative and quantitative research addressing all aspects of physical activity and health promotion. Several national organizations encourage this research process, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.

Social-ecological research strives to understand the spheres of influence that affect people in their environment and the interrelated factors affecting behaviors and outcomes. Social ecology takes into account individuals, families, communities and the broader culture and government policies that have an impact on health and health behaviors. The Center for Active Living and Healthy Communities uses this approach to support research that is:

  • Translational
    Seeking to translate findings into practices that engender positive health outcomes.
  • Community-based participatory
    Based on the involvement and participation of rural community residents in identifying research questions, gathering data, processing findings, developing and implementing interventions and evaluating outcomes.

Key research includes:

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