Walking Engagement in Mexican Americans Who Participated in a Community-Wide Step Challenge in El Paso, TX
Salinas, Jennifer J.
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In the United States, the Latinx population has the highest prevalence of physical inactivity compared with other ethnicities. Research shows that work-based physical activity interventions have been widely implemented in the non-Latinx population and effectively increase physical activity in the non-Latinx population. In an effort to improve physical activity and reduce obesity among the Latinx population, we conducted 10,000 Steps for 100 Days, an employer-based walking challenge campaign, to increase walking engagement among Latinx employees located in El Paso, Texas. Participants reported their number of steps using a pedometer or smartphone. Step counts were collected at baseline, 2 weeks post challenge, and 6 months post challenge. Screenshots of the tracking device were uploaded to an online tracker. Regression analysis was conducted to identify covariates associated with baseline and 2-week and 6-month average daily steps. Generalized estimating equations (GEE) were performed to predict steps over time by demographic characteristics. Participation in the 10,000 Steps for 100 Days walking challenge was associated with a sustained increase in average daily steps. Participants with less than 7000 steps per day demonstrated the greatest increase in average daily steps (921 steps at 2 weeks; 1002.4 steps at 6 months). Demographic characteristics were not significant predictors of average steps, except that married participants had higher average steps. Participants with 10,000 or more daily steps had a 51% (p = 0.031) higher chance of having a professional occupation than a non-professional one compared to those with 7000 or fewer daily steps. We provided initial evidence that the walking challenge is an effective approach for improving physical activity in the Latinx population.