Fe en Acción: Promoting Physical Activity Among Churchgoing Latinas

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Abstract

Objectives

To evaluate the impact of a faith-based intervention to promote physical activity in Latinas.

Methods

We randomized 16 churches in San Diego County, California, to a physical activity intervention or cancer screening comparison condition (n = 436). The intervention followed an ecological framework and involved promotoras. We examined 12-month intervention effects, including accelerometer-based moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; primary outcome) and secondary outcomes. We conducted the study from 2010 to 2016.

Results

Mixed effects analyses showed significant increases in accelerometer-based MVPA (effect size = 0.25) and self-report leisure-time MVPA (effect size = 0.38) among Latinas in the intervention versus comparison condition. Participants in the intervention condition had about 66% higher odds of meeting the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines, had reduced body mass index (effect size = 0.23), and used more behavioral strategies for engaging in physical activity (effect size = 0.42). Program attendance was associated with increased self-reported leisure-time MVPA and the number of motivational interviewing calls was associated with meeting the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines.

Conclusions

A faith-based intervention was effective in increasing MVPA and decreasing body mass index among participants. Process analyses showed the value of program attendance and motivational interviewing calls.

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