202586 "Finding the park in my own backyard” (POB): An innovative conceptual model aimed at attracting hard-to-reach Latinas into physical activity programs

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:15 PM

Anahi Viladrich, PhD , Immigration and Health Initiative, Urban Public Health Program, The School of Health Sciences, The Schools of the Health Professions, Hunter College of the City University of New York, New York, NY
Nancy Bruning, MPH , Friends of Fort Tryon Park, New York City, NY
Ming-Chin Yeh, PhD , Urban Public Health Program, Hunter College, CUNY, New York City, NY
Goals and Background

Latina immigrants to the US have higher obesity rates and are less physically active than their white counterparts. Public parks may be an economical and appealing alternative to expensive health clubs, but parks are underutilized for active recreation. This presentation proposes a cost-efficient, culturally appropriate, and sustainable model of physical activity by relying on a peer-support training model aimed at attracting (and retaining) hard-to-reach Latinas into community-based physical activity programs in parks.

Theoretical Basis

This ecological model recognizes multiple levels of physical activity that integrates theories (e.g., stages of change) with peer-support and social networks approaches. Group exercises will be led by Latina community health workers (CHWs or promotoras) who will provide social-cognitive support and peer-strengthening skills to Latina participants.

Program Design

The phased design will consist of: a) formative and recruitment phase to determine community resources and activity preferences (fitness walks, outdoor dancing, yoga, calisthenics or a combination); b) a training phase to identify CHWs to be fitness leaders; c) an active phase to implement the program; d) a maintenance phase during which CHWs will train the “natural leaders,” who emerge from the park group, thus enhancing the expansion and sustainability of the program.

Future Steps

This community-based physical activity program will be used as a promotional and educational tool in schools, government and community organizations, as an alternative way to provide affordable and culturally-competent physical activity opportunities to disadvantaged Latina immigrants in urban milieus.

Learning Objectives:
1. List three factors that affect physical activity levels in Latina immigrants. 2. Describe the role of Community Health Workers and how it might be expanded to include fitness. 3. Propose strategies for creating sustainable, cost-effective physical activity interventions for Latina immigrants.

Keywords: Community-Based Health Promotion, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was involved in the development of the program.
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.