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Adriano Akira Ferreira Hino, Rodrigo S. Reis, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Diana C. Parra, Ross C. Brownson, and Rogerio C. Fermino

Background:

Open public spaces have been identified as important facilities to promote physical activity (PA) at the community level. The main goals of this study are to describe open public spaces user's characteristics and to explore to what extent these characteristics are associated with PA behavior.

Methods:

A system of direct observation was used to evaluate the PA levels on parks and squares (smaller parks) and users's characteristics (gender and age). The 4 parks and 4 squares observed were selected from neighborhoods with different socioeconomic status and environmental characteristics. The settings were observed 3 times a day, 6 days per week, during 2 weeks.

Results:

More men than women were observed in parks (63.1%) and squares (70.0%) as well as more adults and adolescents than older adults and children. Users were more physically active in parks (men = 34.1%, women = 36.1%) than in squares (men = 25.5%, women 22.8%).

Conclusions:

The characteristics of public open spaces may affect PA in the observed places. Initiatives to improve PA levels in community settings should consider users' characteristics and preferences to be more effective and reach a larger number of people.

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Christine Hoehner, Jesus Soares, Diana C. Parra, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Michael Pratt, Mario Bracco, Pedro C. Hallal, and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

This review assessed whether conference abstracts yield useful information on the types and effectiveness of community-based physical activity (PA) interventions in Latin America, beyond that from interventions included in a recent systematic review of peer-reviewed literature.

Methods:

Abstracts from 9 conferences were searched for community-based interventions to promote PA in Latin America and summarized. Three reviewers classified and screened abstracts. Evaluated interventions that were not included in the previous review were assessed.

Results:

Search of abstracts from 31 proceedings of 9 conferences identified 87 abstracts of studies on community-based interventions focused on increasing PA. Only 31 abstracts reported on studies with a control group and an outcome related to PA. Ten of these abstracts represented interventions that had not been included in the previous review of peer-reviewed literature, but the abstracts were insufficient in number or detail to make a practice recommendation for any single intervention.

Conclusions:

This review highlighted the challenges and low added value of including conference abstracts in a systematic review of community PA interventions in Latin America. Stronger evaluation design and execution and more published reports of evaluated interventions are needed to build an evidence base supporting interventions to increase PA in Latin America.

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Rodrigo S. Reis, Pedro C. Hallal, Diana C. Parra, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Ross C. Brownson, Michael Pratt, Christine M. Hoehner, and Luiz Ramos

Background:

Community programs have been suggested to be an important and promising strategy for physical activity (PA) promotion. Limited evidence is available regarding knowledge of and participation in these programs in Latin America.

Objective:

To describe participation in and knowledge of community PA programs and to explore associations with leisure-time PA in the city of Curitiba, Brazil.

Methods:

A cross sectional telephone survey was conducted among adults in Curitiba, Brazil (n = 2097). The International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to determine levels of PA, and specific questions were used to evaluate the extent to which respondents knew about or participated in the programs conducted by the municipality. Logistic regression was used to assess the meeting of PA recommendations in leisure time based on program knowledge and participation.

Results:

Knowledge of PA programs was high (91.6%) and 5.6% of population participated in the programs. After adjusting for individual characteristics, exposure to Curitiba's PA community programs was associated with leisure-time PA (POR = 2.9, 95% CI = 2.9−3.0) and walking for leisure (POR = 2.4; 95% CI = 2.3−2.4). The associations were stronger among men than among women.

Conclusions:

Knowledge and participation in Curitiba's community PA programs were associated with meeting recommended levels of PA in leisure time.

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Isabela C. Ribeiro, Andrea Torres, Diana C. Parra, Rodrigo Reis, Christine Hoehner, Thomas L. Schmid, Michael Pratt, Luiz R. Ramos, Eduardo J. Simões, and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

The Guide for Useful Interventions for Activity in Brazil and Latin America (GUIA), a systematic review of community-based physical activity (PA) interventions in Latin American literature, selected the CuritibAtiva program for a comprehensive evaluation. We describe the process of developing logic models (LM) of PA community interventions from Curitiba, Brazil, and discuss influential factors.

Methods:

The year-long process included engaging stakeholders involved in the promotion of PA in Curitiba, working with stakeholders to describe the programs and their goals, and developing LMs for the 2 main secretaries promoting PA in the city.

Results & Conclusions:

As a result of stakeholder interviews and discussion and the development of the LMs, local officials are coordinating programming efforts and considering ways the programs can be more complementary. The process has prompted program managers to identify overlapping programs, refine program goals, and identify gaps in programming. It also helped to frame evaluation questions, identify data sources, describe realistic outcomes, and reinforce the importance of intersectoral alliances for public health impact. Developing LMs proved to be feasible in the Latin American context, therefore adaptable and useful for other PA promotion programs in the region.

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Ross C. Brownson, Diana C. Parra, Marsela Dauti, Jenine K. Harris, Pedro C. Hallal, Christine Hoehner, Deborah Carvalho Malta, Rodrigo S. Reis, Luiz Roberto Ramos, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Jesus Soares, and Michael Pratt

Background:

Physical inactivity is a significant public health problem in Brazil that may be addressed by partnerships and networks. In conjunction with Project GUIA (Guide for Useful Interventions for Physical Activity in Brazil and Latin America), the aim of this study was to conduct a social network analysis of physical activity in Brazil.

Methods:

An online survey was completed by 28 of 35 organizations contacted from December 2008 through March 2009. Network analytic methods examined measures of collaboration, importance, leadership, and attributes of the respondent and organization.

Results:

Leadership nominations for organizations studied ranged from 0 to 23. Positive predictors of collaboration included: south region, GUIA membership, years working in physical activity, and research, education, and promotion/practice areas of physical activity. The most frequently reported barrier to collaboration was bureaucracy.

Conclusion:

Social network analysis identified factors that are likely to improve collaboration among organizations in Brazil.