Journal of Womens Health, Issues and CareISSN: 2325-9795

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Engaging in Physical Activity while Breastfeeding: A Mixed Method Analysis of Rural and Urban Women

Objective: The purpose of this study was to compare physical activity perceptions of breastfeeding women between rural and urban areas in the Midwestern United States using a mixed-method design.

Methods: This convergent mixed methods study utilized a 29-question survey and a 33-question interview guide based on the constructs of self-determination theory. Geographic residences were differentiated into either “rural” or “urban” by RUCA codes. Survey data were analyzed via descriptive statistics and independent ttests. Interview data were analyzed via direct content analysis.

Results: A total of 278 women completed the survey (139 rural; 145 urban) and 24 of those women (12 rural; 12 urban) completed a roughly 40-minute telephone interview. The qualitative methodology identified key differences in regard to women’s psychological needs and barriers. However, women had similar current physical activity types (i.e., walking) and motivation (i.e., external motivators) per the survey findings.

Conclusion: Due to the differences in needs and barriers among rural and urban women future interventions should be developed with consideration given to geographic location.

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