"We are way beyond the state average," Bolton said. "That's why southwest Kansas was such a prime place to do this research."
With obesity prevention efforts, community-based participatory research is becoming a popular way to reach ethnically diverse populations. But little research has focused on ways to help Hispanic communities. For the guidebook, the researchers combined community-specific cultural and historical information with physical activity and nutrition health education materials.
The work focused on several areas: heart disease, diabetes, overweight, nutrition, physical activity and access to health care. The researchers used surveys and statistics and spoke with community leaders.
They discovered that many Hispanic residents were new immigrants and possibly unaware of community resources that support healthy behaviors. The researchers found that it was beneficial for these residents to have a guidebook tailored to resources available in their city.
The researchers developed a guidebook available in English and Spanish and distributed it to residents in that community. The guidebook focused on ways to promote and increase awareness of physical activity and healthy eating resources in each community. The researchers included photos of parks, trails and recreational facilities, photos of families and individuals engaging in activities, and photos and nutritional information for ethnically relevant foods.
When conducting surveys to evaluate the guide, the researchers found that the guide was accepted by community residents and had moderate dissemination.
"I think it's a good start to understanding access to physical activity and health," Bolton said. "In my own research, I understand these residents don't come to the U.S. as unhealthy people."
Bolton noted the paradigm shift -- called the Latino Paradox -- that Hispanic populations experience when they come to the U.S. Before
|Contact: Debra Bolton|
Kansas State University