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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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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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Jamie Zoellner, Alicia Powers, Amanda Avis-Williams, Murugi Ndirangu, Earline Strickland and Kathy Yadrick

Background:

Limited research has been done on the compliance and acceptability of maintaining pedometer diaries for an extensive time frame in community-based interventions targeting minority populations.

Methods:

Community “coaches” led participants in a 6-month community-based walking intervention that included wearing pedometers and maintaining pedometer diaries for the study duration. Descriptive statistics and ANOVA tests were used to evaluate compliance rates for maintaining diaries and daily step counts. After the intervention, focus groups were used to explore opinions regarding pedometers. Audiotapes were transcribed and evaluated using systematic content analysis.

Results:

The 8 coaches and 75 enrolled walking participants were primarily African American (98%) women (94%). Overall, the group (N = 83) submitted 85% of all possible pedometer diaries and recorded 73% of all possible daily step counts. Walking-group members were significantly (P < .01) more compliant if their coach was also compliant. Identified benefits of wearing pedometers and maintaining diaries outnumbered the barriers. Participants were enthusiastic about wearing the pedometers and indicated that the weekly diaries provided a source of motivation.

Conclusions:

This research suggests pedometer diaries are a viable intervention tool and research method for community-based physical activity interventions targeting African Americans and highlights the need for social support to promote pedometer diary compliance.

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Viviene Temple, Ryan Rhodes and Joan Wharf Higgins

Background:

Walking has been identified as a low resourced yet effective means of achieving physical activity levels required for optimal health. From studies conducted around the world, we know that dog owners walk more than nondog owners. However, this evidence is largely self-reported which may not accurately reflect dog-owners’ behaviors.

Method:

To address this concern, we systematically observed the use of 6 different public parks in Victoria, British Columbia during fair and inclement weather. Using a modified version of the SOPARC tool, we documented visitors’ types of physical activity, and the presence or absence of dogs. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment was used to consider park features, amenities, and incivilities.

Results:

More people without dogs (73%) visited the parks than those with dogs (27%), largely because of attendance at the multiuse sport parks during the summer months. Despite the opportunities to engage in multiple sports, most people used the parks to walk. However, when inclement weather struck, dog owners continued visiting parks and sustained their walking practices significantly more than nondog owners.

Conclusion:

Our observational snapshot of park use supports earlier work that dogs serve as a motivational support for their owners’ walking practices through fair and foul weather.

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Tarek Tawfik Amin, Waseem Suleman, Ayub Ali, Amira Gamal and Adel Al Wehedy

Objectives:

To determine patterns of physical activity (PA) along domains of work-transport-leisure among adult Saudis, sociodemographic correlates of PA and perceived personal barriers to leisure-time-related physical inactivity in Al-Hassa, KSA.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study in which 2176 adult Saudis attending urban and rural Primary Health centers were selected using multistage proportionate sampling method. Participants were personally interviewed to gather information regarding sociodemographics, PA pattern using Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ), and perceived barriers toward recreation-related PA. Analysis was carried out along GPAQ protocol.

Results:

Median total physical activity was 2304 METs-minutes/week. Fifty-two percent of subjects were sufficiently active meeting the minimum recommendations when considering total PA and 21% of the subjects were sufficiently active in leisure-time-related activity with ≥ 5 days of any combination of walking, moderate or vigorous-intensity activities with a total of at least 600 METs-minutes/ week. Regression analyses showed that females, higher educational and occupational status were negative predictors to total and leisure-related PA. Barriers perceived toward leisure-related PA included weather, traditions, lack of facilities and time.

Conclusion:

A low PA pattern along the 3 domains of PA may impose a refection toward more sedentary life style in Saudi Arabia.

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Carla L. Dellaserra, Noe C. Crespo, Michael Todd, Jennifer Huberty and Sonia Vega-López

Background: The association between acculturation and physical activity (PA) among Mexican American (MA) adults is not understood. This study assessed potential mediating factors that may explain these associations among 75 healthy MA adults [age: 37.5 (9.3) y; 65.3% female]. Methods: Secondary data analysis using hierarchical logistic regression examined whether perceived environmental barriers, social support, and intention to exercise potentially mediated relationships between acculturation level, and total and leisure-time moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). Data were collected via questionnaire. Results: Most participants (67%) reported lower average household monthly incomes ($0–$3000), completed some college or obtained a college degree (64.4%), and were first generation immigrants (59%). Acculturation was associated with greater odds of engaging in total MVPA [odds ratio (OR) = 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2–2.4] and leisure-time MVPA (OR = 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1–1.2). Perceived environmental barriers were associated with greater odds of engaging in both total and leisure-time MVPA (OR = 4.3; 95% CI, 2.1–5.8 and OR = 5.5; 95% CI, 2.0–7.0, respectively), and social support was associated with greater odds for total MVPA (OR = 3.7; 95% CI, 1.1–6.4). Conclusions: Results provide preliminary evidence for mediating factors that may explain the relationship between acculturation level and PA among MA adults. Contradicting prior evidence, results suggest that PA engagement, despite perceived environmental barriers, is possible among MA adults having stronger social support.

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Gregory W. Heath and John Bilderback

Background: There is a paucity of studies, especially among diverse populations, demonstrating the effects of policy and environmental interventions to increase regular physical activity. The Grow Healthy Together Chattanooga project provided the opportunity to assess the impact of physical activity policy and environmental interventions on the physical activity among predominately African American children living in the inner city. Methods: Using the System for Observing Physical Activity and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC), the authors examined the physical activity of children along urban pedestrian/bike routes/trails and recreational park areas within the boundaries of the Grow Healthy Together Chattanooga communities. SOPARC data were collected at baseline (fall 2010/spring 2011) and repeated (spring 2014) in each community. Results: The SOPARC assessments yielded a total of 692 child/youth observations in 2010 and 806 observations in 2014. Children/youth observed in 2014 were greater than 2 times the odds of engaging in moderate/vigorous physical activity compared with their 2010 counterparts (odds ratio  = 2.75, 95% confidence interval, 1.43–5.32). Conclusions: The present findings support the hypothesis that policy and environmental interventions can contribute to increased physical activity levels among children/youth over ∼3-year period. These results provide evidence that improved access to “urban” pedestrian/bicycle routes/trails appears to translate into increased opportunities for physical activity among inner city children/youth.

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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.

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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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Robert Medairos, Vicky Kang, Carissa Aboubakare, Matthew Kramer and Sheila Ann Dugan

Background:

This study aims to identify patterns of use and preferences related to technology platforms that could support physical activity (PA) programs in an underserved population.

Methods:

A 29-item questionnaire was administered at 5 health and wellness sites targeting low income communities in Chicago. Frequency tables were generated for Internet, cell phone, and social media use and preferences. Chi-squared analysis was used to evaluate differences across age and income groups.

Results:

A total of 291 individuals participated and were predominantly female (69.0%). Majority reported incomes less than $30,000 (72.9%) and identified as African American/Black/Caribbean (49.3%) or Mexican/Mexican American (34.3%). Most participants regularly used smartphones (63.2%) and the Internet (75.9%). Respondents frequently used Facebook (84.8%), and less commonly used Instagram (43.6%), and Twitter (20.0%). Free Internet-based exercise programs were the most preferred method to increase PA levels (31.6%), while some respondents (21.0%) thought none of the surveyed technology applications would help.

Conclusion:

Cell phone, Internet, and social media use is common among the surveyed underserved population. Technology preferences to increase PA levels varied, with a considerable number of respondents not preferring the surveyed technology platforms. Creating educational opportunities to increase awareness may maximize the effectiveness of technology-based PA interventions.