The Implementation of a National Physical Activity Intervention in Colombia

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: In 2011, the Colombian government started a nationwide program, Hábitos y Estilos de Vida Saludable (HEVS; Healthy Life Habits), providing free, community-based physical activity classes for individuals across Colombia. This study describes the HEVS program, participant characteristics, and changes in anthropomorphic and health measures following the program. Methods: In this observational study, demographic information, current health status, lifestyle habits, and anthropomorphic measures were collected from adult HEVS participants at baseline and after program completion 11 months later. Changes in anthropomorphic and health measurements after the HEVS program were compared in the same participants using a paired t test and McNemar test, respectively. Results: A total of 56,472 adult participants (86.5% female) enrolled in the HEVS program. The greatest proportion of participants was between the ages of 18 and 34 years. Prior to participating in HEVS, mean body mass index and waist circumference were 26.3 kg/m2 and 85.7 cm, respectively. Postprogram data from 17,145 individuals showed statistically significant decreases in body mass index, waist circumference, and the proportion of patients with self-reported hypertension. Conclusions: The HEVS program successfully engaged a large number of Colombians in physical activity and resulted in significant improvements in their health, demonstrating the effectiveness of a government-supported, community-based physical activity program.

Gaffney and Mantero are with the Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Miami, Miami, FL. Lozano, Almanza, and Ruiz are with Internal Physical Activity Group, Departmento Administrativo del Deporte, la Recreación, la Actividad Física y el Aprovechamiento del Tiempo Libre—Coldeportes, Bogota, Colombia. Stoutenberg is with the Department of Health & Human Performance, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Chattanooga, TN.

Stoutenberg ( is corresponding author.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Table 1 (PDF 187 KB)