This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Research on rural seniors, physical activity earns Pomeroy fellowship

Published: July 21, 2005

Contributing Editor

Research by on physical activity among rural older adults by a UB nursing faculty member has earned her a $120,000, two-year postdoctoral fellowship in a national competition funded by the John A. Hartford Foundation and Atlantic Philanthropies.



Sherry Pomeroy, research assistant professor in the School of Nursing, was one of 11 chosen for the awards through the Hartford Foundation's Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) Scholar Awards Program.

The goal of the initiative is to increase the number of university faculty specializing in geriatric nursing research. Pomeroy's research focuses on assessing and developing programs that will encourage people over the age of 65 living in rural communities to participate in physical activity.

"Despite the well-known benefits of physical activity and exercise, less than a third of older adults are meeting public-health recommendations to engage in 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week," said Pomeroy. "One of the goals of Healthy People 2010 is to reduce chronic disease and disability, and improve the health status of older adults. One way to accomplish this goal is by involving older adults in physical activity."

Pomeroy said little research has been done on how to effectively motivate rural older people to give up a sedentary lifestyle and engage them in a physically active lifestyle. She has worked with older adults in rural Illinois on previous projects. Her current work involves residents of Wyoming, Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties in Western New York.

Pomeroy will work with her mentor, Barbara Resnick, associate professor at the University of Maryland's School of Nursing, on data analysis of a Resnick study during the first fellowship year.

During the second year, she will focus on her own research, determining the most effective way to deliver the physical-activity message—such as face-to-face meetings, telephone-based interventions or mailed information—to rural older adults, as well as what types of activity are most feasible over the long term. She also is developing accurate ways to measure physical activity in this population.

The results will be used as the basis for a grant application to the National Institute on Aging to continue and expand her research in this developing field.