Andrew Chapman

Mentor: Walter Smith, PhD

Current Status: Undergraduate

Institution: UVa-Wise

Presentations: NCUR, University of Kentucky, Lexington

COPLAC, University of Montevallo, Alabama

Student Research Symposium, UVA-Wise, Virginia


Outdoor Recreation and Health Indicatiors in Central Appalachia


The central Appalachian region is well known for its abundance of outdoor recreation sites. Throughout the region, many federal, state, and locally maintained recreation sites provide residents and tourists alike with the opportunity to enjoy a plentitude of recreational activities in pristine outdoor environments. Although central Appalachia is considered a hotspot for outdoor recreation, the region is also considered a hotspot for physical inactivity and related disorders such as obesity and diabetes. We chose to investigate this apparent contradiction by studying the relationships that exist between recreation access and other health indicators (rates of obesity, diabetes, physical inactivity, dietary insufficiency, and poverty) within 82 central Appalachian counties. For our study, we performed statistical analyses using general linear models to determine the extent of the relationships that exist between our studied variables. In order to acquire sufficient data to conduct our analysis, we compiled data from numerous state and federal databases with the recreation data we obtained from a survey distributed to local governments. The results of our study suggest that there is a significant relationship between the number of outdoor recreation sites within a county and the overall health of the county’s citizens.