268086 Policy and Environmental changes to support active living and healthy eating among low income Mexican American communities

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 5:30 PM - 5:45 PM

Belinda M. Reininger, DrPH , Division of Behavioral Sciences, School of Public Health, Brownsville, TX
Christine Arcari, PhD, MPH , Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, UTMB, Galveston, TX
Kirk Smith, MD PhD , Department of Internal Medicine, UTMB, Galveston, TX
Jennifer Gay, PhD , Health Promotion and Behavior- College of Public Health, University of Georgia, Athens, GA
Lisa Mitchell-Bennett, MA , Brownsville Regional Campus, University of Texas - Houston School of Public Health, Brownsville, TX
Jacquelyn Siller , Project Manager, Catholic Charities of CC, Corpus Christi, TX
Martha Martinez, MSN RN CS , Clinic Director of Operations, Mercy Ministries of Laredo, Laredo, TX
Rosemary Welsh , Mercy Ministries, Laredo, TX
Phylis Peters , Proyecto Juan Diego, Brownsville, TX
The University of Texas Community Outreach (UTCO) program works in four counties in South Texas with large Mexican American populations to prevent and control diabetes through community-based approaches. A key program strategy of UTCO is to conduct organizational activities leading to policy and environmental changes. These changes were reported for each county by a thorough process and outcome evaluation. In the program's first two years 47 policy and environmental changes were implemented. Examples of policy changes include vending machine restrictions of sugary drinks and foods and joint use agreements for community use of park space. Examples of environmental changes include establishing farmers markets and community gardens, providing designated space for physical activity and education activities, and placing prompts promoting physical activity and healthy foods. These changes were implemented with involvement from community leaders, policy makers, community health workers, and health coalitions. We will present details about the processes used for identifying, establishing and evaluating policy and environmental changes in community settings. Program outcomes indicate statistically significant improvements in HbA1c (7.9% decrease) among diabetic program participants and increased number of community participants meeting physical activity guidelines [AOR = 4.2 (95% CI 2.0-8.8)].

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
1. To identify promoters and barriers to the implementation of policy and environmental change for physical activity. 2. To discuss the roles community leaders play in the implementation of policy and environmental change initiatives. 3. To describe the lessons learned associated with evaluating policy and environmental change initiatives.

Keywords: Diabetes, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a co investigator on the study, led the evaluation efforts, and am an expert in built environment interventions.
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.

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