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Objective Measures of Physical Activity in Rural Communities: Factors Associated With a Valid Wear and Lessons Learned

Amanda Gilbert, Alan Beck, Natalicio Serrano, and Ross C. Brownson

Background: Compared with urban/suburban counterparts, rural communities experience lower rates of physical activity (PA) and higher rates of chronic disease. Promoting PA is important for disease prevention but requires reliable and valid measurement of PA. However, little is known about effectively collecting objective PA data in rural communities. Using data from a cluster randomized trial (Heartland Moves), which aims to increase PA in rural Missouri, this study explored factors associated with successful objective PA data collection and presents lessons learned. Methods: Baseline survey and accelerometry data were collected through Heartland Moves (n = 368) from August 2019 to February 2021, in southeast Missouri. Chi-square and logistic regression analyses were used to explore factors (demographics, subjective PA, and SMS reminders) associated with valid wear of PA devices. Results: Overall, 77% had valid wears. Participants who were not married (odds ratio [OR] 0.48, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.30–0.79) and those living alone (OR 0.49, 95% CI, 0.30–0.81) were less likely to have valid wears. Participants who met PA guidelines (OR 1.69, 95% CI, 1.03–2.75) or received SMS reminders (OR 3.25; 95% CI, 1.97–5.38) were more likely to have valid wears. Conclusions: Results are supported by lessons learned, including importance of communication (SMS reminders), accessing hard-to-reach groups (living alone), and need to adapt during data collection.

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Communicating Prevention Messages to Policy Makers: The Role of Stories in Promoting Physical Activity

Katherine A. Stamatakis, Timothy D. McBride, and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

While effective interventions to promote physical activity have been identified, efforts to translate these interventions into policy have lagged behind. To improve the translation of evidence into policy, researchers and public health practitioners need to consider new ways for communicating health promoting messages to state and local policymakers.

Methods:

In this article, we describe issues related to the translation of evidence supporting physical activity promotion, and offer some communication approaches and tools that are likely to be beneficial in translating research to policy.

Results:

We discuss the use of narrative (ie, stories) and describe its potential role in improving communication of research in policy-making settings. In addition, we provide an outline for the development and design of policy briefs on physical activity, and for how to target these briefs effectively to policy-oriented audiences.

Conclusions:

Improvements in researchers' and practitioners' abilities to translate the evidence they generate into high-quality materials for policy makers can greatly enhance efforts to enact policies that promote physical activity.

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Research on Physical Activity and Health: Where Is Latin America?

Pedro C. Hallal, Diana C. Parra, Mario R. Azevedo, Michael Pratt, and Ross C. Brownson

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Shaping Policy and Practice: Analyzing the Reach of Highly Cited and High Altmetrics Publications for Broader Impact on Physical Activity

Andrea Ramírez Varela, Natalicio Serrano, Juliana Mejía Grueso, Anita Nguyen, Deborah Salvo, Ross C. Brownson, Adrian Bauman, Rodrigo Reis, Pedro Hallal, and Michael Pratt

Background: A significant gap remains between the availability of physical activity (PA) evidence-based interventions and their application in real-world settings in policy and practice areas. This study aims to describe highly cited and high altmetrics publications in PA research and explore their impact on PA policy and practice. Methods: Mixed-methods sequential explanatory study including the identification and description of the top highly cited and high altmetrics PA publications from the last 10 years (including study design, population, type of PA study, number of citations, and altmetrics score), and interviews with key informants regarding research dissemination and implications on PA policy and practice. Results: When considering publication type, the most frequent highly cited publications were health consequences (40%, altmetrics = 42%), measurement/trends (23%, altmetrics = 10%), and correlates/determinants (21%, altmetrics = 26%) studies. They were predominantly cross-sectional (50%, altmetrics = 28%), systematic reviews (38%, altmetrics = 18%), and longitudinal studies (8%, altmetrics = 37%). All authors who participated in the interviews agreed that the most important factors in disseminating findings and influencing PA policy and practice were the published peer-reviewed manuscript itself, the reputation of the journal, the communication strategy, and the use of online platforms. Conclusions: To have a real-world influence on PA policy and practice, it is not enough to publish the results in scientific journals and participate in media outreach. To successfully involve policymakers and communities in appropriating the evidence and evaluating the extent to which these findings affect policy and practice outcomes, it is critical to lead co-creation, co-dissemination, advocacy, and capacity building efforts.

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Breaking Barriers: An Innovative Tool to Assess the National and City-Level Physical Activity Policy Development to Practice Disconnect

Eugen Resendiz, Andrea Ramírez-Varela, Juliana Mejía-Grueso, Jane Moon, Josef Mitáš, Ross C. Brownson, Deborah Salvo, and Michael Pratt

Background: Population-level physical activity increases are improbable without intersectoral collaboration across government levels and sectors to develop and implement physical activity promotion policies. This study aims to provide information about the development of the Interaction between National and Local Government Levels in Development and Implementation of Physical Activity Policies Tool (INTEGRATE PA-Pol). A framework was created to examine the development and implementation of national and subnational physical activity policies and the (mis)alignment between government levels. Methods: The work was conducted in 3 phases: (1) a scoping review was carried out to identify local government physical activity promotion policies and instruments for assessing them, (2) an expert group designed 6 questionnaires, and (3) cognitive response testing was employed for validity testing and item modification with a panel of research and policy experts. Results: The INTEGRATE PA-Pol Tool consists of 6 questionnaires assessing how national and subnational governments collaborate to develop and implement physical activity promotion policies. Conclusion: This tool can assist in better understanding the development and implementation of a public policy monitoring system that will allow for benchmarking and priority setting to comprehend how physical activity promotion policies are designed and executed.

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Parks Promoting Physical Activity: Synthesis of Findings From Interventions in Seven National Parks

Christine M. Hoehner, Ross C. Brownson, Diana Allen, James Gramann, Timothy K. Behrens, Myron F. Floyd, Jessica Leahy, Joseph B. Liddle, David Smaldone, Diara D. Spain, Daniel R. Tardona, Nicholas P. Ruthmann, Rachel L. Seiler, and Byron W. Yount

Background:

We synthesized the results of 7 National Park Service pilot interventions designed to increase awareness of the health benefits from participation in recreation at national parks and to increase physical activity by park visitors.

Methods:

A content analysis was conducted of the final evaluation reports of the 7 participating parks. Pooled data were also analyzed from a standardized trail-intercept survey administered in 3 parks.

Results:

The theme of new and diverse partnerships was the most common benefit reported across the 7 sites. The 2 parks that focused on youth showed evidence of an increase in awareness of the benefits of physical activity. Many of the other sites found high levels of awareness at baseline (approaching 90%), suggesting little room for improvement. Five of the 7 projects showed evidence of an increase in physical activity that was associated with the intervention activities. Multivariate analyses suggested that the media exposure contributed to a small but significant increase in awareness of the importance of physical activity (6%) and number of active visits (7%).

Conclusions:

Enhancements and replication of these programs represents a promising opportunity for improving partnerships between public health and recreation to increase physical activity.