184746 Viability of Neighborhood Walking Groups for Diabetes Prevention and Management in a Low-Income Latino Community of Los Angeles

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Glenn A. Lopez, MD, MPH , Department of Family Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Michael Rodriguez, MD, MPH , David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
With exercise being integral to the prevention and management of diabetes, inexpensive, culturally-acceptable exercise programs targeting low-income, diabetes-prone Latino communities are greatly needed. To assess the level of interest by Latinos in joining community-based walking groups, a 12-question, cross-sectional survey was conducted with a randomized sample of 200 adults from 1600 living units in a 40-block area in the primarily Latino community of Sun Valley, California. 74% of respondents were native Spanish speakers, and 71% were female. When questioned regarding frequency of exercise, 38% of native Spanish speakers reported exercising fewer than one day per week and only 16% report engaging in moderate physical activity between four and six days per week. Nevertheless, when queried regarding their level of interest in joining walking groups comprised of their neighbors walking around their blocks, 83% of the native Spanish speakers expressed interest in participating with only 3% reporting “not interested”. The primary motive reported by women for joining walking groups was “to keep my health”, although a strong secondary motive was “to get to know my neighbors”, which was the primary motive reported by men. This community orientation of the primarily immigrant population was incorporated into the program design which resulted in over 1,600 persons voluntarily participating in walking groups during the first year of the program. Emphasizing the social benefits for walking group members (meeting neighbors, quality time with family) over health benefits (decreasing blood glucose or blood pressure) appears to motivate participation in the program.

Learning Objectives:
Recognize the significant role which the community orientation of immigrant Latinos, versus the desire to avoid complications of chronic diseases, may have on their participation in community-based walking groups.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Latinos

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Program Manager and creator of the Sun Valley Diabetes Prevention and Early Intervention Program which has set up 14 walking groups for the entire community of Sun Valley over the past year.
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.