Introduction. Limited research has documented interventions aimed at promoting use of existing recreational community resources among underserved populations. This study (HEART [Health Education Awareness Research Team] Phase 2) reports findings of an intervention (Mi Corazón Mi Comunidad) where community health workers facilitated use of diet and exercise programming at local recreational facilities among Mexican American border residents. The aim was to evaluate overall attendance rates and to assess which factors predicted higher attendance. Method. The design was a cohort study. From 2009 to 2013, a total of 753 participants were recruited across 5 consecutive cohorts. The intervention consisted of organized physical activity and nutrition programming at parks and recreational facilities and a free YWCA membership. Attendance at all activities was objectively recorded. Regression analyses were used to evaluate whether demographic factors, health status, and health beliefs were associated with attendance. Results. Participants included mostly females at high risk for cardiovascular disease (72.4% were overweight/obese and 64% were [pre-]hypertensive). A total of 83.6% of participants attended at least one session. On average, total attendance was 21.6 sessions (range: 19.1-25.2 sessions between the different cohorts), including 16.4 physical activity and 5.2 nutrition sessions. Females (p =.003) and older participants (p <.001) attended more sessions. Participants low in acculturation (vs. high) attended on average seven more sessions (p =.003). Greater self-efficacy (p <.001), perceived benefits (p =.038), and healthy intentions (p =.024) were associated with higher attendance. Conclusions. The intervention was successful in promoting use of recreational facilities among border residents at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Findings were similar across five different cohorts.
- community intervention
- health promotion
- lay health advisors/community health workers
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Nursing (miscellaneous)