CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · Avicenna J Med 2020; 10(02): 76-82
DOI: 10.4103/ajm.ajm_175_19
Original Article

Technology’s role in promoting physical activity and healthy eating in working rural women: a cross-sectional quantitative analysis

Sharon S Laing
School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership, University of Washington Tacoma, Tacoma, Washington
Muhammad Alsayid
Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, Illinois
Katheryn Christiansen
Clinical and Nursing Research, Education and Practice, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, Washington, USA
Kathleen Shannon Dorcy
Clinical and Nursing Research, Education and Practice, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle, Washington, USA
› Author Affiliations

Subject Editor: Financial support and sponsorship Nil.


Aims: This exploratory study evaluated sociodemographic predictors of healthy eating and physical activity (PA) in a sample of working rural women and their access to and interest in using technology for health promotion. Settings and Design: This study is a cross-sectional quantitative analysis. Materials and Methods: A 32-item questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of N = 60 women, working at a regional healthcare facility in the Pacific Northwest. Statistical Analysis: Descriptive statistics characterized PA and healthy eating, barriers and support for PA and healthy eating, and perceived role of technology for health promotion. Chi-square tests for categorical variables evaluated relationships between PA and healthy eating support with behavioral engagement. Results: Only 23% and 25% followed recommended PA and fruit and vegetable consumption guidelines. Those likely to engage in preventive care had higher income and education. Fewer respondents reported barriers to PA than for healthy eating (47% vs. 57%), and those reporting barriers were likely to have lower income and less than a high-school education. Sixty percent reported social support for PA and only 52% for healthy eating. A significant relationship was evident between PA support and PA engagement (P = 0.015). Eighty-two percent used mobile phones to look up health information and 29% did so daily. Almost two-thirds (62%) reported likelihood of using online health information boards to support healthy eating and 45% for PA. Conclusion: Working rural women benefit from PA and healthy eating guidance. Attention to sociodemographic predictors may support a tailored digital healthcare approach to promote wellness in this community.

Key Message: Rural women are not meeting recommended healthy eating and physical activity guidelines. Electronic and mobile health technology can support preventive care behaviors for dispersed communities, and working rural women appear ready to deploy technology to support healthy eating and physical activity engagement. Technologists must tailor electronic and mobile health tools to meet the social and economic needs of rural communities to assure maximal healthcare benefits.

Publication History

Article published online:
04 August 2021

© 2020. Syrian American Medical Society. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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