Academic journal article American Journal of Health Education

A Cardiovascular Health Program for Latinos Supplemented with Pedometers

Academic journal article American Journal of Health Education

A Cardiovascular Health Program for Latinos Supplemented with Pedometers

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT

Background: Physical inactivity is an important modifiable risk factor for many chronic diseases which disproportionately affect Latinos in the U.S. Targeting at-risk Latinos for prevention and intervention programs to increase physical activity can help decrease their risk for developing these diseases. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to promote physical activity, while measuring and monitoring behavior change associated with pedometer use among Latinos. The study's objectives were to: (1) promote physical activity and increase awareness of the importance of walking and exercise through the use of pedometers, (2) calculate the amount of pedometer steps each participant takes over a period of time, and (3), determine whether the use of pedometers along with education about exercise in a cardiovascular disease program would increase participant's physical activity. Methods: Prior to starting the program, participants were given a pedometer and a journal to track their steps. Results: The average number of steps participants took from the first to the last week of data collection increased significantly [F (188)= 6.20, P=0.014]. Discussion: A pedometer may be a useful tool for health educators when combined with an evidence-based physical education program. Translation to Health Education Practice: This study is a demonstration of how health education responsibilities can be put into practice.

Trudnak, Lloyd A, Westhoff WW, Corvin J. A cardiovascular health program for latinos supplemented with pedometers. Am J Health Educ. 2011;42(1):24-29. This paper was submitted to the Journal on March 25, 2010, revised and accepted for publication on July 29, 2010.

BACKGROUND

Inactivity and lack of adequate exercise is an enormous problem in the United States and is an important modifiable risk factor for many diseases, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes. (1) Many of these chronic diseases disproportionately affect Latinos in the U.S., making them an at-risk population. (2) Thus, targeting Latinos for prevention and intervention programs to increase physical activity and decrease risk for developing chronic diseases is vital to ensure optimal health.

Inactivity often results in obesity, a risk factor associated with a myriad of chronic disease conditions, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, elevated blood lipids, osteoarthritis and cancer. (3) While the prevalence of physical inactivity increased in the U.S. across all populations, minorities are the most likely affected (2). In fact, it is estimated that over 57% of Hispanic women living in the U.S. are considered sedentary) In a study investigating the prevalence of obesity from 1991 to 1998, the largest increases in obesity were found among Latinos, whose rate increased from 12% to 21% over the seven-year time period. (5) Prevalence estimates in 2005 indicated that at least one in four Hispanic adults was obese and more than one in six Hispanic school-aged children were overweight. (6) Latinos and their children have been greatly affected by the growing rate of inactivity and obesity in the U.S.

For many, walking is one of the easiest ways to become more physically active and help lose or maintain a healthy weight. Moderate forms of exercise, such as brisk walking for 30 to 60 minutes a day, has been proven to have significant physical and mental health benefits. (7) However, quantifying physical activity such as walking for the purpose of research or monitoring has been a challenge. Traditionally, physical activity is assessed using survey instruments, but recall bias is a major limitation in such studies. Thus, there is a strong interest in using more objective monitors such as pedometers to record physical activity. A pedometer, or step counter, is a small device that can be attached to a belt or waistband to detect lateral movement that occurs when a person steps (i. …

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