Healthy immigrant families: Participatory development and baseline characteristics of a community-based physical activity and nutrition intervention

Mark L. Wieland, Jennifer A. Weis, Marcelo M.K. Hanza, Sonja J. Meiers, Christi A. Patten, Matthew M. Clark, Jeff A. Sloan, Paul J. Novotny, Jane W. Njeru, Adeline Abbenyi, James A. Levine, Miriam Goodson, Maria Graciela D. Porraz Capetillo, Ahmed Osman, Abdullah Hared, Julie A. Nigon, Irene G. Sia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background: US immigrants often have escalating cardiovascular risk. Barriers to optimal physical activity and diet have a significant role in this risk accumulation. Methods: We developed a physical activity and nutrition intervention with immigrant and refugee families through a community-based participatory research approach. Work groups of community members and health scientists developed an intervention manual with 12 content modules that were based on social-learning theory. Family health promoters from the participating communities (Hispanic, Somali, Sudanese) were trained to deliver the intervention through 12 home visits during the first 6 months and up to 12 phone calls during the second 6 months. The intervention was tested through a randomized community-based trial with a delayed-intervention control group, with measurements at baseline, 6, 12, and 24 months. Primary measurements included accelerometer-based assessment of physical activity and 24-hour dietary recall. Secondary measures included biometrics and theory-based instruments. Results: One hundred fifty-one individuals (81 adolescents, 70 adults; 44 families) were randomized. At baseline, mean (SD) time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was 64.7 (30.2) minutes/day for adolescents and 43.1 (35.4) minutes/day for adults. Moderate dietary quality was observed in both age groups. Biometric measures showed that 45.7% of adolescents and 80.0% of adults were overweight or obese. Moderate levels of self-efficacy and social support were reported for physical activity and nutrition. Discussion: Processes and products from this program are relevant to other communities aiming to reduce cardiovascular risk and negative health behaviors among immigrants and refugees. Trial registration: This trial was registered at (NCT01952808).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)22-31
Number of pages10
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Community-based participatory research
  • Dietary quality
  • Immigrant refugee health
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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