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Am J Health Promot. 2011 Jan-Feb;25(3):172-5. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.090325-ARB-115.

A pilot walking program for Mexican-American women living in colonias at the border.

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  • 1Department of Social and Behavioral Health, School of Rural Public Health, South Texas Center, Texas A&M Health Science Center, McAllen, Texas 78572, USA. nmier@tamhsc.edu



To test the effectiveness of ¡Vamos a Caminar! (Let's Walk!), an intervention for Mexican-American women living in economically disadvantaged, poorly urbanized areas in the South Texas border region.


This was a nonexperimental, one-group, pretest and posttest intervention with a duration of 12 weeks.


The intervention was conducted in Hidalgo County, Texas, 1 of the 10 poorest counties in the United States, located at the border with Mexico. Participants resided in areas known as colonias, which are unincorporated and impoverished settlements along the border where many people live in trailers or self-built houses and lack basic services.


Spanish-speaking Mexican-American women (n  =  16) 18 years of age and older.


The program was home-based, culturally sensitive, theoretically driven, and facilitated by community health workers.


Changes in walking levels, depressive symptoms, and stress levels were assessed.


Descriptive statistics and the Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed-ranks test were used.


A majority of participants were unemployed, had low levels of education, were born in Mexico, and were obese. After exposure to the program, the participants reported a significant increase in walking (915.8 metabolic equivalent min/wk; p  =  .002) and lower depressive symptoms (p  =  .055) and stress level scores (p  =  .017).


Culturally sensitive programs promoting walking in underserved, minority populations are promising in reducing physical activity disparities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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