Study: Exposure to Recreation Center Increases Use by Latino Families with Young Children


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Editor’s Note: This is a 20-part series featuring new research briefs on Latino childhood obesity, nutrition, physical activity and more by the 20 grantees of Salud America! Part 15 is Dr. Shari Barkin. Find all briefs here.

Dr. Shari Barkin

Dr. Shari Barkin
“Exposure to Recreation Center Increases Use by Latino Families with Young Children”

In her Salud America! pilot research project, Dr. Shari Barkin of Vanderbilt University Medical Center assessed how exposure to a community recreation center affects whether Latino families with young children use the center for physical activity.

This assessment was conducted one year after families participated in a culturally-relevant healthy-lifestyles program at the center.

Key preliminary findings include:

  • programmed exposure to a community recreation center led to self-reported increases in physical activity use one year later by Latino parents and their children.

This study suggests an effective, low-cost approach that could be used to promote Latino families’ use of recreation facilities for increased physical activity.

Policymakers should be aware that building or renovating a center may not be the only step needed to support a community’s healthy lifestyle—creating programs that encourage families to “walk through the door” and learn how to use a community recreation center can lead to sustainable behavior change to support improved health through routine physical activity.

Read more here.

Salud America! is an RWJF national program directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.

By The Numbers By The Numbers



of Latino kids have obesity (compared to 11.7% of white kids)

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