161000 Michigan's Promoting Active Communities program: Building local capacity for physical activity environments through self-assessment

Monday, November 5, 2007: 4:30 PM

Katherine Alaimo, PhD , Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Risa Wilkerson , Vice President of Active Communities, Michigan Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Lansing, MI
Jennifer Mosack , Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Ellen Bassett, PhD , Urban and Regional Planning Program, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
Karen Petersmarck, PhD , Community Nutrition Consultants, East Lansing, MI
Lisa Grost, MHSA , Michigan Department of Community Health, Lansing, MI
David Mendez, PhD , Health Management and Policy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Sarah Panken , Active Communities Coordinator, Michigan Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Lansing, MI
Michigan's Promoting Active Communities (PAC) program includes an online self-assessment communities can complete to evaluate their built environments, policies, and programs related to promoting and supporting physical activity (www.mihealthtools.org/communities). After completion, communities receive an award based on their score, and a personalized community feedback report that can be used for planning purposes. The PAC assessment items were selected based on a theoretical model of physical activity indicators derived from a review of current research, best practices and expert opinions. A CDC-funded evaluation examined the assessment tool's performance with 17 Michigan communities who completed the assessment in 2006. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used. Focus groups and in-depth interviews were used to understand the process communities used to complete the assessment, while descriptive statistics and linear regression were used to examine relationships among community size, income levels, and community indicators. Results indicated that the self-assessment process was beneficial for increasing networking between local stakeholders, and generating ideas for improvements in community policies, built environment and programming that can be used for future planning purposes. The PAC assessment tool provides local government officials with a common platform to communicate health-related issues across disciplines. Improvements were made to the scoring system in 2007 to improve performance for communities of various sizes and income levels. The Promoting Active Communities program serves as a catalyst for bringing together multidisciplinary local stakeholder groups that can advocate for community change in the realm of health and the built environment.

Learning Objectives:
Describe key characteristics of the built environment that facilitate physical activity. Articulate the benefits and challenges a community would face in using a multidisciplinary assessment and planning process to promote community improvements. Articulate two take-home lessons learned from applying the Promoting Active Communities assessment tool in various Michigan communities. Discuss the applicability of these lessons to other communities nationwide.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Community Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.