Hispanic Americans and Targeted Physical Activity Interventions

The Hispanic American population in this country is growing; health disparities affect Hispanic Americans; and this group’s rate of overweight and obesity is growing at an alarming rate. Physical inactivity is greater among Hispanics when compared to that of other groups. This study featured in the Journal of Environmental and Public Health reviewed reports of physical activity interventions targeting the Hispanic American adult population across a four-year period.

Here are some key points found:

  • Most of the interventions were community based while some were clinical, family-based, and faith-based.
  • Barriers to physical activity often relate to time constraints and environmental access.
  • The Hispanic Americans studied felt like they had little time for social interactions – which included physical activity – given the demands of home and family.
  • Social support increased the likelihood of participation in physical activity, and an extra benefit was the friendships formed during the physical activity intervention.
  • Important factors in the success of the interventions included each individual’s sense of commitment, his or her self-efficacy, and a strong sense of group identity.
  • Activities that included staff from the same ethnic group of the population being studied reported improved recruitment.
  • We need legislative policies that increase Hispanic Americans’ access to physical activity opportunities.

Read the entire article here.

Moderate Excercise: How Intense Must It Be?

How do we define “moderate exercise”? The question is prompted by federal guidelines recommending that we get 150 minutes of moderate — or 75 minutes of vigorous — aerobic exercise each week. American guidelines suggest that during moderate exercise, you should be able to “talk, but not sing.”  It seems subjective, so researchers at York University in Toronto set out to determine how realistic people’s perceptions are about how intensely they exercise. They found that volunteers overestimated how hard they were exercising and so might not obtain the full benefits they were expecting. Read the full article for information about how the study measured exercise intensity. The article concludes with a bit of encouragement: “any amount of physical activity at almost any intensity will have some health benefits.”

 

 

 

 

Osteoarthritis Patients are Better Off Walking

Orthopedics This Week reports on a study finding that osteoarthritis patients benefit from walking and should not fear that walking might cause increased damage to their joints. “People with osteoarthritis can decrease the possibility of developing physical limitations by walking more,” according to physical therapist Daniel K. White, Sc.D., PT, of Boston University, and his colleagues.

Key points:

  • Increased steps (1,000 more steps per day) were associated with a lower risk for later deterioration whether assessed on an objective performance-based measure or on a self-report measure.
  • Walkers who totaled 5,000 to 7,500 steps per day cut their risk of complications from osteoarthritis in half.
  • Less than one-third of primary care physicians advise their patients with osteoarthritis to walk.
  • White and his group suggest that physicians who are recommending walking to their patients set an initial goal of 3,000 steps per day.

Read the full article here.