170988 Faithful Footsteps: A faith-based physical activity intervention for Hispanics

Monday, October 27, 2008

Melissa Bopp, PhD , Dept. of Kinesiology, Community Health Institute, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Elizabeth A. Fallon, PhD , Kinesiology, Community Health Institute, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
David X. Marquez, PhD , Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL
Currently, Latinos have among the lowest rates of leisure time physical activity (PA) of any ethnic/racial group in the United States, regardless of social class. Regular PA has many benefits, including improvements to both mental and physical health. Using a faith-based setting to increase PA allows for targeting this specific audience in a convenient and familiar environmental context. Methods: Faithful Footsteps was a 6-month pilot program to increase PA among Latinos using a faith-based approach. Using a group-randomized control design, one church was assigned to an attention control group and two churches were assigned to the intervention group. Culturally and spiritually relevant materials in English and in Spanish were developed for both groups. Intervention materials included education on the benefits of PA, linking health and scriptures, a walking contest and health fiesta. Control materials included information on general health. A volunteer sample of participants from the control church (n = 23) and intervention churches (n = 24) took part in the assessment portion of the project, though intervention activities were available to all members of the churches. Exposure to intervention materials, church level health variables, knowledge of PA recommendations and benefits, and exposure to intervention activities were assessed. Results: Those participating in assessments were mostly female (55%), middle-aged (43.9&plusmn11.1yrs), and of Mexican ancestry (76.1%). Only 27% of participants reported seeing intervention materials, but 69% reported having a priest/other church official speak to the materials, about health in general, or about PA, specifically. Most (66%) of intervention participants were able to identify health reasons for participating in PA, and 47% described current public health PA guidelines. Conclusions: This study provides formative research for the development of larger faith-based PA interventions targeting Latinos. Future directions include dissemination of the PA intervention to other churches with large Latino congregations.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the need for culturally appropriate physical activity interventions 2. Recognize strategies for faith-based approaches 3. Describe lessons learned from this intervention

Keywords: Physical Activity, Hispanic

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the primary investigator on this project. I wrote the grant to obtain the funds to conduct the project and served as the project manager and wrote the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.