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  • Author: Adriana Almanza x
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Lukas K. Gaffney, Oscar D. Lozano, Adriana Almanza, Nubia Ruiz, Alejandro Mantero and Mark Stoutenberg

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.

Open access

Silvia A. González, Maria A Castiblanco, Luis F. Arias-Gómez, Andrea Martinez-Ospina, Daniel D. Cohen, Gustavo A. Holguin, Adriana Almanza, Diana Marina Camargo Lemos, Jorge Enrique Correa-Bautista, Iván D. Escobar, Johnattan García, Rocio Gámez, Mauricio Garzon, Yaneth Herazo Beltrán, Hernan Hurtado, Oscar Lozano, Diana C. Páez, Robinson Ramírez-Vélez, Nubia Ruiz, Gustavo Tovar and Olga L. Sarmiento

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is vital to the holistic development of young people. Regular participation in PA is associated with substantial benefits for health, cognitive function, and social inclusion. Recognizing the potential of PA in the context of the current peace process in Colombia, the purpose of this article is to present the methodology and results of Colombia’s second Report Card on PA for children and youth.

Methods:

A group of experts on PA graded 14 PA indicators based on data from national surveys and policy documents.

Results:

National and departmental policy indicators received a grade of B, while organized sport participation, overweight, obesity, community influence, and nongovernment initiatives indicators received a grade of C. Overall PA levels, active transportation, sedentary behaviors, and school influence received a grade of D. Active play, low physical fitness, and family influence received an Incomplete grade.

Conclusions:

PA levels are low and sedentary behaviors are high in Colombian children and youth, with notable geographic differences. A broad policy framework translated into specific actions could provide unique opportunities to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice, and contribute to social integration goals in a postconflict setting.