A Theoretical Approach to Undersanding Physical Activity in the Colonias




Allen, Samantha

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Colonias residents the United States-Mexico border are medically underserved with disproportionate rates of diabetes and other obesity-related diseases. Although physical activity (PA) plays a role in preventing such diseases, a majority of this population fails to meet recommended PA guidelines. Given consistent support of theory to understand and/or increase PA participation, this study examined familial social support and social norms associated with PA engagement among colonias children using a Promotora model. Promotora researchers conducted surveys with 99 mother-child dyads in spring and summer of 2011. Mean parental social support for PA received by children was 6.77 (SD=5.76). Girls reported receiving less (µ=6.0, SD=5.5) total parental social support than boys (µ=7.8, SD=6.0). Thirty-nine percent of mothers also reported exercising with their children (22% of girls and 16% of boys), and 33% provided transportation to their children for PA. These findings indicate a need for improved social support to increase PA levels.



childhood obesity, social theory, border health