Background: Evaluation studies of large scale physical activity promotion programs are rare in Latin America. The aim of the current study was to evaluate the association between various forms of exposure to Academia da Cidade (PAC), a professionally supervised intervention in Aracaju (Brazil), and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA). Methods: A population-based study including 2267 adults was carried out. LTPA was assessed using the long version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and a cut-off of 150 minutes per week was used in the analyses. Results: In fully adjusted models, having ever heard about PAC was related to an odds of 1.8 (95% CI 1.4–2.2) for reaching the 150-minutes per week LTPA threshold. Equivalent odds ratios were 1.6 (95% CI 1.1–2.3) for having ever seen a PAC class, 14.3 (95% CI 12.3–16.4) for current and 4.0 (95% CI 1.4–11.3) for past PAC participation. Conclusion: Different sources of exposure to PAC were significantly associated with LTPA, which may suggest that professionally-supervised community classes offered for free may be a successful alternative for promoting physical activity in Brazil. If PAC happens to be expanded to other Brazilian areas, intervention studies may be carried out to evaluate its effectiveness.
Keywords: motor activity, intervention studies, public health, health promotion, developing countries