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Introduction: Across the world there are clusters of individuals who live to age 100. Researchers1,2 have observed commonalities between lifestyle habits of centenarians. The goal of this study was to determine barriers to living healthy in a rural region of a southeastern state.
Methods: A mixed-methods cross-sectional survey was administered to residents of a small southern community February through April of 2021. Quantitative data were analyzed using Pearson’s correlations and linear regression. Qualitative data were analyzed using thematic analysis.3
Results: Quantitative results revealed a negative association between age and intuitive eating (r=-.22, p=.001); income and intuitive eating (r=-.17, p=.001), and a positive association between age and consumption of nuts and seeds (r=.20, p=.001). Barriers to healthy eating included limited access (e.g., few restaurants serving healthy options, poor produce quality), diet preferences or restrictions, inconvenience, and safety concerns associated with grocery shopping. In terms of movement, participants cited lack of time and motivation as primary barriers to engaging in regular physical activity.
Conclusions: Health practitioners have an ethical obligation to educate their community on the benefits of healthy eating practices such as intuitive eating and engaging in consistent physical activity. Education should target all demographics, irrespective of age, gender, or socioeconomic status.
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