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J Environ Health. 2013 Oct;76(3):8-16.

Mexican-American children's perspectives: neighborhood characteristics and physical activity in Texas-Mexico border colonias.

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School of Rural Public Health Texas A&M Health Science Center. McAllen, TX 78503, USA.


The qualitative study described in this article investigated perceptions about environmental factors influencing physical activity (PA) among children from underserved neighborhoods known as colonias in the U.S.-Mexico border. Ten focus groups were conducted with 67 Mexican-American colonia children ages 8 to 13 living in one of the poorest border counties in the U.S. Analyses indicated that PA among children was influenced by neighborhood characteristics, including litter, speeding cars, unleashed dogs, and dark streets. The children also underlined intrapersonal and social environmental factors. Findings may inform policy makers and public health professionals about ways to promote PA among underserved children through urban planning and programs focusing on PA-supportive infrastructure, neighborhood safety, and family- and home-based physical activities.

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