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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Texas A&M: Study Identifies Best Practices for Physical Activity Interventions

In a new study published in the American Journal of Health Promotion, a team of researchers led by Dr. Selina Stasi, at the Texas A&M School of Public Health, reviewed efforts to improve physical activity access in low-income and diverse communities to see how successful those attempts were and to what degree members of the community and other parties were brought together in those efforts. The researchers examined 14 studies to see how well they aligned to a set of six essential practices related to building and sustaining meaningful positive changes in a community. These practices include a focus on reducing health disparities caused by social, environmental and economic inequalities; engagement of community members and approaches that encourage shared leadership; promotion of communication and shared learning and an emphasis on sustainable and lasting change.

Each of the 14 studies followed different approaches to improve access to opportunities for physical activity, ranging from public policy efforts to social media campaigns, and all 14 achieved some level of success at increasing physical activity. All of the articles also focused on health inequalities, one of the six key practices, but only two of the studies met all six criteria, and only a few hit more than two.

The findings of this review indicate a need for interventions to make better use of best practices, with an emphasis on greater community engagement and communication. The framework of six practices investigated seem to be the best available approach for designing physical activity interventions, especially in communities that are more likely to lack the necessary infrastructure.

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