SaludABLEOmaha: Improving readiness to address obesity through healthy lifestyle in a Midwestern Latino community
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Background: A community’s readiness for change is a precursor to the effective application of evidence-based practices for health promotion. Research is lacking regarding potential strategies to improve readiness to address obesity-related health issues in underserved communities.Community Context: This case study describes SaludABLEOmaha, an initiative to increase readiness of residents in a Midwestern Latino community to address obesity and adopt healthy lifestyles. Methods: SaludABLEOmaha emphasized 2 core approaches, youth activism and collaboration among public and private institutions, which we applied to planning and implementing tactics in support of 3 interconnected strategies: 1) social marketing and social media, 2) service learning in schools (ie, curricula that integrate hands-on community service with instruction and reflection), and 3) community and business engagement. Following the Community Readiness Model protocol (http://triethniccenter.colostate.edu/communityReadiness.htm), structured interviews were conducted with community leaders and analyzed before and 2.5 years after launch of the program. Outcome: The community increased in readiness from stage 3 of the Community Readiness Model, “vague awareness,” at baseline to stage 5, “preparation,” at follow-up. Interpretation: SaludABLEOmaha improved community readiness (eg, community knowledge, community climate), which probably contributed to the observed increase in readiness to address obesity through healthy lifestyle. Community mobilization approaches such as youth activism integrated with social marketing and social media tactics can improve community responsiveness to obesity prevention and diminish health disparities.
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