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Sheri J. Brock, Danielle Wadsworth, Shelby Foote and Mary E. Rudisill

Institutions of higher education have a responsibility to prioritize the needs of society and local communities. One essential need prevalent in all communities is to address the rise of obesity and health risks due to lack of participation in physical activity. In the United States, children spend a small percentage of time engaged in physical activity, and engagement decreases further in adolescence and adulthood. Collaborative partnerships between kinesiology faculty at universities and community organizations are one avenue for engaging children in physical activity. Partnerships must be multilevel and community wide to evoke change and have long-term impact and sustainability. Within the context of community-based research, we propose a three-step framework for establishing collaborative partnerships: (1) determining the needs of partners; (2) discussing expertise, services, and philosophy; and (3) providing a quality product. In addition, we outline and illustrate our experiences when collaborating with community partners to promote physical activity.

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Sheila A. Dugan, Kelly Karavolos, Elizabeth B. Lynch, Chiquia S. Hollings, Francis Fullam, Brittney S. Lange-Maia and Lynda H. Powell

Background:

Physical inactivity in midlife women is associated with increased intra-abdominal adipose tissue development. We describe an innovative multimethod study 1) to better understand barriers to physical activity (PA) and 2) to engage midlife women to product test physical activities and identify local community-based providers and sustainable and fun PA experiences.

Methods:

Formative research on PA barriers from the Chicago site Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) ancillary study of midlife women was used to develop a pilot testing measure. Feasibility, acceptability and sustainability of the PA activities were determined using the measure.

Results:

Desirable locations and/or instructors were identified. The first 2 groups identified, pilot tested, and then ranked activities for their ability to promote sustained PA. The 6 top-ranked were: circuit training, total body fitness, kickboxing, Zumba, Pilates, and pedometer. The final group pilot tested highly ranked PA in 2-week blocks, and ranked pedometer and Zumba in their top 3.

Conclusion:

Consensus was reached regarding activities that could be valuable in promoting sustained PA in midlife women. Choosing convenient sites and popular instructors further facilitates sustainability. Building relationships with key community partners is essential for sustainability. Community-based participant involvement in study design is a critical element in developing a healthy living intervention.

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Suzanna M. Martinez, Elva M. Arredondo, Scott Roesch, Kevin Patrick, Guadalupe X. Ayala and John P. Elder

Background:

U.S. Latinos engage in nonleisure-time walking (NLTW) more than other ethno-racial groups. Studies are needed to explore factors associated with NLTW to inform interventions for effective physical activity promotion.

Purpose:

To examine the social-ecological correlates of NLTW among Mexican-origin Latinos.

Methods:

Individual, social, and environmental level factors and PA were assessed in a telephone survey completed by 672 Mexican-origin adults randomly sampled in San Diego County. Data were collected in 2006 and analyzed in 2009.

Results:

Participants were mostly female (71%), with an average age of 39 years. Less than one-third met PA guidelines for NLTW (29%). Structural equation modeling showed that NLTW was positively associated with being female, but negatively associated with living in the U.S. ≥ 12 years, and being U.S.-born.

Conclusions:

In this sample NLTW differed by various indicators of acculturation and gender. These findings might help inform the development of interventions to promote NLTW and thus physical activity in Mexican-origin adults.

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Barbara B. Brown and Carol M. Werner

Background:

Accelerometer output feedback might enable assessment of recall biases for moderate bouts by obese and nonobese individuals; accelerometry might also help residents recall destinations for moderate-intensity walking bouts.

Methods:

Adult residents’ 1-week accelerometer-measured physical activity and obesity status were measured before and after a new rail stop opened (n = 51 Time 1; n = 47 Time 2). Participants recalled the week’s walking bouts, described them as brisk (moderate) or not, and reported a rail stop destination or not.

Results:

At the end of the week, we provided accelerometry output to residents as a prompt. Recall of activity intensity was accurate for about 60% of bouts. Nonobese participants had more moderate bouts and more “stealth exercise” —moderate bouts recalled as not brisk—than did obese individuals. Obese participants had more overestimates—recalling light bouts as brisk walks—than did nonobese individuals. Compared with unprompted recall, accelerometry-prompted recalls allowed residents to describe where significantly more moderate bouts of activity occurred.

Conclusion:

Coupling accelerometry feedback with self-report improves research by measuring the duration, intensity, and destination of walking bouts. Recall errors and different patterns of errors by obese and nonobese individuals underscore the importance of validation by accelerometry.

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Megan E. Grimstvedt, Jacqueline Kerr, Sara B. Oswalt, Donovan L. Fogt, Tiffanye M. Vargas-Tonsing and Zenong Yin

Background:

This study tested the effectiveness of a stair use promotion strategy in visible and hidden stairwells during intervention and post intervention follow up.

Methods:

A quasi-experimental study design was used with a 1 week baseline, a 3 week intervention, and post intervention at 2 and 4 weeks in 4 university buildings in San Antonio, Texas with stairwells varying in visibility. Participants were students, faculty, staff, and visitors to the 4 buildings. A total of 8431 observations were made. The intervention incorporated motivational signs with direction to nearby stairwells placed by elevators to promote stair use. Stair and elevator use was directly observed and recorded. Logistic regression analyses were used to test whether stair versus elevator use varied by intervention phase and stairwell visibility.

Results:

Stair use increased significantly (12% units) during the intervention period and remained above baseline levels during post intervention follow-up. At baseline, visible stairs were 4 times more likely to be used than hidden stairs; however, the increase in stair use during intervention was similar in both types of stairwells.

Conclusions:

Motivational and directional signage can significantly increase stair use on a university campus. Furthermore, stairwell visibility is an important aspect of stair use promotion.

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Genevieve Fridlund Dunton, Donna Spruijt-Metz, Jennifer Wolch, Chih-Ping Chou, Michael Jerrett, Jason Byrne, Susan Weaver and Kim D. Reynolds

Background:

Efforts to increase community levels of physical activity through the development of multiuse urban trails could be strengthened by information about factors predicting trail use. This study examined whether reasons for trail use predict levels of physical activity on urban trails.

Methods:

Adults (N = 335) living within a 1-mile buffer zone of urban trails in Chicago, Dallas, and Los Angeles completed a self-report measure assessing demographics, reason for trail use, and physical activity on the trail. Accelerometers measured total daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Environmental features of the urban trail were assessed with the Systematic Pedestrian and Cyclist Environmental Scan for trails measure. Multivariate regression analyses were conducted that accounted for clustering of individuals within trail segments.

Results:

After controlling for demographic and environmental factors and total daily MVPA, reasons for trail use significantly predicted recreational but not transportation activity. Recreational trail activity was greater for participants who reported exercise and health reasons for trail use as compared with other reasons (ie, social interaction, enjoying nature, walking pets) for recreational trail use.

Conclusions:

To increase the use of urban trails, it may be useful to promote the health and exercise benefits of recreational trail use.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael W. Beets, Aaron Beighle, Pedro F. Saint-Maurice and Greg Welk

Background:

The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of Ready for Recess, an elementary school recess intervention targeting staff training (ST) or providing recreational equipment (EQ) separately, and the combination (EQ+ST) on physical activity (PA).

Methods:

Participants were children attending 1 of 12 elementary schools (grades 3rd–6th) included in the study. Separate analytical models were used to evaluate the effects of the intervention conditions on children’s accelerometry and direct observation derived PA measures.

Results:

Boys and girls were measured using accelerometry (n = 667). Boys in EQ+ST increased their MVPA by 14.1% while ST decreased their MVPA by –13.5%. Girls in ST decreased their MVPA by –11.4%. Neither boys nor girls in EQ increased their time spent in MVPA. A total of 523 (boys) and 559 (girls) observations were collected. For boys’ and girls’ sedentary and vigorous activity there were no significant main effects for treatment condition, time, or treatment condition-by-time effects.

Conclusions:

Environmental modifications are only as strong as the staff that implements them. Supervision, if not interactive, may be detrimental to PA participation, especially in girls. Research related to staff training for encouragement and promotion of PA coupled with appropriate use of equipment during recess is warranted.

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Andrew F. Clark, Joannah Campbell, Patricia Tucker, Piotr Wilk and Jason A. Gilliland

Background: Children’s sedentary lifestyles and low physical activity levels may be countered using population-level interventions. This study examines factors influencing the use of a free community-wide physical activity access pass for grade 5 students (G5AP). Methods: A natural experiment with longitudinal data collection. A sample of 881 children completed the 9-month follow-up survey self-reporting where they used the G5AP. Two analyses were conducted: Getis-Ord GI* geographic cluster analysis of the spatial distribution of users, and logistic regression examining the relationship between use and accessibility (informational, economic, and geographic) and mobility options, while accounting for intrapersonal and interpersonal factors. Results: Overall, 44.9% of children used the G5AP with clusters of high use in urban areas and low use in the suburbs. Other factors significantly related to G5AP included gender (girls), informational accessibility (active recruitment), economic accessibility (median household income), geographic accessibility (facilities within 1.6 km of home), and mobility options (access to Boys & Girls Club bus). Conclusions: This study found that a diverse population of children used the G5AP. To continue being successful, community-based physical activity interventions need to ensure that the intervention increases geographic, economic, and informational accessibility and provides mobility options that are available to the target population.

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Jennifer L. Huberty, Michael William Beets, Aaron Beighle and Thomas L. Mckenzie

Background:

Children’s achievement of recommendations for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in afterschool programs (ASP) is complex. It is unclear what elements of the ASP environment influence children’s physical activity (PA). The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship of staff behaviors and ASP features (eg, organized activity, recreational equipment) to MVPA participation in youth attending ASPs.

Methods:

Data were collected in 12 ASPs in the Midwest. Staff behavior and child PA was measured using the System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth. The percentage of children’s MVPA was examined in relation to staff behaviors and ASP features.

Results:

Increases in MVPA were observed when staff were directly engaged in PA, verbally promoted MVPA, and when PA was organized and equipment was present. When 3 or more of these characteristics were present, the proportion of children engaged in MVPA increased by 25%−30%. Conversely, MVPA levels decreased when these characteristics were absent and when staff were attending to other ASP duties or were supervising.

Conclusion:

This study provides evidence about the specific staff behaviors that may influence higher proportions of youth being active during ASP and implies specific skills that need to be incorporated into ASP staff training.

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Mark Swanson, Nancy E. Schoenberg, Heather Erwin and Rian E. Davis

Background:

Most children in the United States receive far less physical activity (PA) than is optimal. In rural, under resourced areas of Appalachian Kentucky, physical inactivity rates are significantly higher than national levels. We sought to understand children’s perceptions of PA, with the goal of developing culturally appropriate programming to increase PA.

Methods:

During 11 focus groups, we explored perspectives on PA among 63 Appalachian children, ages 8−17. Sessions were tape recorded, transcribed, content analyzed, and subjected to verification procedures.

Results:

Several perspectives on PA emerged among these rural Appalachian youth, including the clear distinction between PA (viewed as positive) and exercise (viewed as negative) and an emphasis on time and resource factors as barriers to adequate PA. Additional PA determinants expressed in the focus groups are similar to those of other populations. We include children’s recommendations for appealing PA programs.

Conclusions:

Appalachian and other rural residents contend with the loss of rural health advantages (due to declines in farming/other occupational and avocational transitions). At the same time, Appalachian residents have not benefitted from urban PA facilitators (sidewalks, recreational facilities, clubs and organized leisure activities). Addressing low PA levels requires extensive community input and creative programming.