Healthy Immigrant Families

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HIF color transparentWorking Together to Move More and Eat Well


Immigrants and refugees arrive to the United States healthier than the general population.  But, the longer they live in the U.S., the more likely they are to approximate the cardiovascular risk profiles of the general population, including increased rates of  obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. Two reasons for the development of these diseases are low levels of physical activity and lack of access to healthy foods.  The reasons for these behaviors are complex, and include many social, economic, environmental, and cultural factors.

Healthy Immigrant Families is a project aimed at improving physical activity and dietary habits among immigrants and refugees to Rochester, Minnesota. Healthy Immigrant Families uses a CBPR approach to design an intervention aimed at improving physical activity and dietary habits with and for families from participating communities. The intervention includes delivery of family-centered, home-based coaching and learning regarding physical activity and healthy eating to participating Hispanic, Somali and Sudanese Families. These lessons are facilitated by specifically trained Family Health Promoters from the same community or ethnic group as the participants. In addition, community physical activity and nutrition resources are accessible through a specifically created interactive web-based asset map. Program efficacy is evaluated by measuring physical activity using accelerometery, and dietary quality by 24-hour dietary recall. Other health indicators include measurement of blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), and health-related quality of life survey.

151 participants (44 families) were enrolled at baseline. At 12 months post enrollment, 93% of families were still engaged in study activities and the intervention had been delivered to 100% of active families.

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National Institutes of Health: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (RO1 HL 111407-03)

Mayo Clinic: Center for Clinical and Translational Science, Office of Health Disparities Research, Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Primary Care Internal Medicine

Significant Partners

Alliance for Chicanos, Hispanics and Latin Americans

Hawthorne Education Center

Somali Community Resettlement Services

Sudanese Community

Winona State University

Mayo Clinic