209532 Using Lay Health Educators to Map Local Nutrition and Physical Activity Resources for Latinos

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Alejandra J. Gepp, MA , Institute for Hispanic Health, National Council of la Raza, Washington, DC
Liany Elba Arroyo, MPH, CPH , Institute for Hispanic Health, National Council of La Raza, Washington, DC
Ana Maria Archila , Make the Road New York, Woodside, NY
Diane de Jesus , Health Services, Organizacion Civica y Cultural Hispana Americana, Inc., Youngstown, OH
Evelyn Kelly, MPH , Health, Casa de Maryland, Inc., Silver Spring, MD
Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are clearly linked to heart disease. Studies suggest that compared to Whites, Latinos consume more grams of fat per day and do not engage in regular physical activity. The nutrition and physical activity habits of Latinos are the result of a complex interaction of factors. Thus, developing Latino-specific interventions that increase access to nutrition information and opportunities to engage in physical activity are critical to reversing obesity and its co-morbidities among Hispanics. The National Council of La Raza (NCLR), in partnership with three community-based organizations (CBOs), tested and evaluated an intervention to better equip Latinos with the resources necessary to improve their food choices and engage in regular physical activity.

NCLR trained promotores de salud (lay health educators) in three cities to conduct environmental scans to identify nutrition and physical activity resources available to, and accessible by, Latinos. Information gathered included: types of food products available locally, quality and price of products, restaurants that offer healthy options, and locations to engage in physical activity. A resource guide was then developed and disseminated to community members during promotores-led heart health sessions and cooking demonstrations which used products obtained from sources in the guide.

Evaluation data was collected through post-tests which measured the usefulness of the information and participants' intent to change as a result of receiving the information. The project's results will be used to create additional programs, inform policy development, and increase our understanding of the nutrition and physical activity-related practices of Hispanics.

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the need for culturally and linguistically appropriate health education programs for Latinos to reduce risk factors associated with chronic diseases. Identify the barriers Latinos face to accessing healthy food and engaging in regular physical activity Describe the use and application of the promotores de salud model in increasing the access of Hispanics to healthy foods and locations for physical activity

Keywords: Latinos, Chronic Diseases

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted developed and implemented health promotion programs specific to Latinos.
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.