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Let's Discuss: Promoting Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in Latino Communities

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Creating environments where healthy behaviors are socially supported and accessible is essential in preventing cancer and reducing health disparities.  Our May cyber-seminar highlighted two innovative and successful interventions designed to redress these challenges in Latino communities.

Dr. Elva Arredondo described the Faith in Action (Fe en Acción) study designed to improve the health of Latina women in San Diego. Dr. Guadelupe (Suchi) Ayala described an innovative store-based intervention to increase accessibility of fruits and vegetables in tiendas as well as strategies to increase fruit and vegetable consumption. 

We had a number of questions received during the session and hope that you will join the Q&A as well.



Question: Did the promotoras

Question: Did the promotoras receive compensation?
Answer: They are hired on a part-time basis.
Question: What sort of resources or education is provided to the promotoras serving the community? Is there or would a future project include a healthier eating aspect? Does safety of neighborhoods impact the outdoor activities available?
Answer: We provide them with CPR training as well as injury prevention, how to develop a PA class (choreography), etc. In terms of resources, we provide them with music, fit bit cards (helps them come up with different routines), incentives for participants to attend classes (visors, water bottes, etc.)
Question: Where is this intervention of PA promotoras happening?
Answer: Many of the classes occur in the church settinig (rooms, outside) and the walking groups occur in nearby parks and neighborhood
Question: Did the promotoras have to have experience with being physically active or could they simply be highly motivated to be a promotora?
Answer: The promotoras who were hired had to show evidence that they engaged in some leisure time activity throughout the week. Most engaged in some walking so we had to train them to deliver a group exercise class.
Question: are there results for the physical activity intervention?
Answer: We are in the process of conducting analyses involving the entire data set for year 1 (we are still collecting data for year 2). Following completion of the analyses, we will release those findings.
Question: Did you need approval from the park districts in order to improve the aesthetics of the parks?
Answer: Yes, that was an aspect of the advocacy intervention.
Question: In which city/state is this promotora intervention happening?
Answer: We are involving churches located throughout San Diego County (California).
Question: Thank you! Now, all the crossing to the border makes scence
Answer: Excellent point! In the interest of time, I had to take the map of where the churches are located.
Question: What type of training/educational background did your PA specialist have for this study?
Answer: She is ACE certified and bilingual/bi-cultural.

We had quite the Q&A session

We had quite the Q&A session - here are a few more:

Question: Where in California is this "stores" intervention?

Answer: San Diego county

Question: Have intervention stores continued with purchasing similar items after the project ended?

Answer: Technically after the intervention in terms of our active involvement. However please know that the idea is that the intervention would continue in the store even without our involvement. Does that make sense?

Question: A question to Dr. Arredondo, where can I find more studies about using promotoras for latino communities?

Answer: Ayala, G. X., Vaz, L., Earp, J. A., Elder, J. P., & Cherrington, A. (2010). Outcome effectiveness of the lay health advisor model among Latinos in the United States: An examination by role type. Health Education Research, 25(5), 815-840. PMCID: PMC2948840. doi:10.1093/her/cyq035

Thank you so much for your

Thank you so much for your ongoing questions! Earlier this month, R2R listed a webinar highlighting the US Health and Human Services' (HHS) Promotores de Salud Initiative. The goals of the HHS Promotores de Salud / Community Health Workers Initiative are to:recognize the important contributions of promotores in reaching vulnerable, low-income and underserved members of Latino/Hispanic populations, and promote the increased engagement of promotores to support health education and prevention efforts and access to health insurance programs.

Their website lists a number of training and programatic materials that may be of interest to the R2R community.

Do you have any related programs going on in your community? Let us know your experiences!

Participants on this

Participants on this cyber-sem and followers of this discussion may be particularly interested in attending the Stakeholder Call to Announce a New E-learning Program for Promotores de Salud (June 23, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. EST; Toll Free Number: 888-989-3422; Participant Passcode: 1071091)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health will host a stakeholder call to announce Promoting Healthy Choices and Community Changes: an E-learning Program for Promotores de Salud. This new e-learning program is designed to build the capacity of promotores de salud to promote individual- and community-level changes toward better health. It is available in both Spanish and English at no cost to participants. The e-learning program will provide promotores de salud with basic knowledge to: promote healthy choices at the individual and community levels; apply basic principles and strategies to motivate behavioral changes among the community members they serve; and empower those individuals to create change in their communities.
Registration is requested upon dialing into the call. Participants are encouraged to dial into the call line at least 5-10 minutes prior to the start of the call to allow time for registration.
J. Nadine Gracia, MD, MSCE, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the HHS Office of Minority Health
Ken Johnson, JD, Senior Public Health Advisor, HHS Office of Minority Health
Liliana Rañón, Associate Director, Asian American/Pacific Islander & Latino Affairs, HHS Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs
Brendaly Rodríguez, MA, Manager, Community Engagement and Cultural Diversity Program, University of Miami Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Co-chair, Florida Community Health Worker Coalition, and Member, HHS Promotores de Salud Initiative Steering Committee

One of the most-discussed

One of the most-discussed aspects of this presentation was the role of the "built environment" on physical activity.

Indeed, a wide array of tools exists for measuring different features of the built environment, many of them well validated. As noted in the cyber-seminar, it is often difficult for local program staff and evaluators to know which features of the built environment are most important to measure on the basis of the health behaviors and outcomes they are trying to affect. It is also difficult to know which tool(s) to choose to most accurately and feasibly assess those features.

CDC's newly released Built Environment Assessment Tool (BE Tool) (an adaptation of MAPS) was designed to alleviate some of the challenges posed by the significant number of narrowly focused tools aimed at only one activity (walking), one subpopulation (older adults), or one public health area (inactivity). It was created as a collaborative enterprise across multiple areas of public health - health promotion, injury prevention, environmental health, etc. 

The core features assessed in the BE Tool include: built environment infrastructure (e.g., road type, curb cuts/ramps, intersections/crosswalks, traffic control, transportation), walkability (e.g. sidewalk/path features, walking safety, aesthetics & amenities), bikeability (e.g., bicycle lane/path features), recreational sites and structures, and the food environment (e.g., access to grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, etc.). Additional questions or modules could be added by users if more detail about an aspect of the built environment, such as the nutrition environment or pedestrian environment, is desired.

The tool itself can be found at:

What do you use to assess the physical environments in your communities?  Share your tools and resources on R2R!


Participants in this

Participants in this cyber-seminar might be interested in a new report about to be released by Healthy Eating Research.  The repoprt, "Minimum Stocking Levels and Marketing Strategies of Healthful Foods for Small Retail Food Stores" identifies basic, minimum stocking levels for healthful foods and beverages in small retail food stores, and provides marketing strategies that stores should adopt to enhance sales of healthful foods. The recommendations included in this report were developed by a national panel of experts in food retail, nutrition, and obesity prevention. 
The release is scheduled for Feb 10th, and there will be a webinar at 1:00 PM EST/ 10:00 AM PST to present the recommendations. 
Wednesday, February 10 
9:00 a.m. CT   Release of the Minimum Stocking Levels Report
12:00-1:00 p.m. CT   Webinar on the Minimum Stocking Levels Report 
The authors of the report will present the report’s recommendations and policy implications. 
Please register for the webinar in advance through this link:

We had such a robust

We had such a robust discussion about this topic that I wanted to follow up and mention that Preventing Chronic Disease recently published Evaluating Healthy Corner Stores: A Survey of Assessment Tools Used in the San Francisco Bay Area, 2016.  The author catalogs and synthesizes the types of information collected by evaluations of these programs.This information may be useful in future collaboration or pooling of data.

Do you have any interventions underway to improve the availability of healthy food options, especially in low-income areas without access to larger food retailers?