Immigrants and refugees to the United States have physical activity levels and dietary behaviors that are less healthy than the non-immigrant majority. Low levels of physical activity and poor dietary behaviors are associated with greater risks for obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Interventions aimed at increasing physical activity and improving dietary quality among immigrants and refugees may promote healthier lifestyles and prevent chronic diseases.
Positive Loser was a pilot fitness program for exercise and nutrition for women with little experience with exercise, aimed at improving confidence in being physically active and eating a healthy diet. Positive loser was a six-week program with classes that met two times a week at the Rochester Area Family YMCA. Each class had two parts: 60 minutes of physical activity and 30 minutes of nutrition education. This socioculturally appropriate wellness program for women was co-created by community leaders and researchers based on feedback obtained during a half-day fitness retreat, along with data from focus groups. About 50 Somali, Cambodian, Hispanic, and African American women in Rochester participated in the program. Pre and post measurements showed that participants had lower weight, lower blood pressure, lower waist-hip ratios, and reported improved self-confidence about exercise and diet, along with improved quality of life. The experience and results from this project led to the Healthy Immigrant Families project.
National Institutes of Health: National Center for Research Resources through the Center for Translational Science Award to Mayo Clinic (1UL1RR024150)
Mayo Clinic: Center for Translational Science Activities & Department of Medicine
Alliance for Chicanos, Hispanics and Latin Americans
Cambodian Association of Rochester Minnesota
Multi-Cultural Learning Center
New Vision Church
Rochester Area Family YMCA