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Physical Activity and Public Health: Four Decades of Progress

Sarah K. Keadle, Eduardo E. Bustamante, and Matthew P. Buman

Over the past 40 years, physical activity (PA) and public health has been established as a field of study. A robust evidence base has emerged demonstrating that participation in recommended amounts of PA results in a wide array of physical and mental health benefits. This led to the establishment of federal and global PA guidelines and surveillance programs. Strong evidence supports the efficacy of individual-level (e.g., goal setting) and environmental (e.g., policies) interventions to promote PA. There has also been progress in establishing a skilled and diverse workforce to execute the work of PA and public health. Looking forward, major challenges include stemming the obesity and chronic disease epidemics, addressing health inequities, and diversifying the workforce. Given the known benefits of PA and the availability of evidence-based interventions, efforts now must focus on implementing this knowledge to improve population health and reduce inequities through PA.

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Active or Sedentary? Objectively Measured Physical Activity of Latinos and Implications for Intervention

David X. Marquez, Eduardo E. Bustamante, Edward McAuley, and Dawn E. Roberts

Background:

Latinos have the lowest leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) rates. However, measurement of only LTPA might underestimate total physical activity. This study compares the objective physical activity of Latinos reporting high or low levels of LTPA and also compares gender differences.

Methods:

Data were obtained from 148 Latinos (n = 83 women, n = 65 men). Freedson cut points were employed to determine daily minutes of activity.

Results:

Latinos reporting high LTPA engaged in more daily minutes of vigorous and very vigorous activity than Latinos reporting low LTPA (P values < .05). There was no difference in daily minutes of moderate-intensity activity (P = .12), with both groups of Latinos meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/American College of Sports Medicine guidelines. Men engaged in more daily minutes of moderate activity than women (P < .01).

Conclusions:

Many Latinos met physical activity guidelines even when reporting low levels of LTPA. Future studies should determine whether equivalent health benefits are achieved by meeting guidelines through LTPA and non-LTPA.

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Physical Activity of Urban Community-Dwelling Older Latino Adults

David X. Marquez, Ruby Hoyem, Louis Fogg, Eduardo E. Bustamante, Beth Staffileno, and JoEllen Wilbur

Background:

To date, little is known about the physical activity (PA) levels and commonly reported modes of PA of older Latinos, and this information is critical to developing interventions for this population. The purpose of the current study was to examine PA assessed by self-report and accelerometer and to assess the influence of acculturation, gender, and age on the PA of urban community-dwelling older Latino adults.

Methods:

Participants were self-identified Latinos, primarily women (73%), and individuals aged 50 to 59 (31%), 60 to 69 (30%), and 70+ (39%). PA was measured with an accelerometer and the Community Healthy Activity Model Program for Seniors (CHAMPS) PA questionnaire.

Results:

Men reported engaging in, and objectively participated in, significantly more minutes of moderate/vigorous PA than women, but women reported greater light intensity household PA. Latinos aged 50 to 59 engaged in significantly more accelerometer-assessed PA than Latinos aged 60 to 69 and 70+, respectively. The majority of participants did not meet the PA Guidelines for Americans. No differences in PA were demonstrated by acculturation level. Older Latino men and women reported walking and dancing as modes of leisure PA.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest PA interventions should be targeted toward older Latinos, taking into account gender and age.