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Using interactive Internet technology to promote physical activity in Latinas: Rationale, design, and baseline findings of Pasos Hacia La Salud.


Internet-based interventions show promise as an effective channel for promoting physical activity. However, a paucity of research has been conducted among underserved groups despite recent increases in Internet access and physical activity-related health disparities in these communities. Thus, the current randomized controlled trial will test the efficacy of an individually tailored, Internet-based physical activity intervention for Latinas. This program was culturally and linguistically adapted for the target population through extensive formative research. Two hundred eighteen sedentary Latinas were randomly assigned to the Tailored Physical Activity Internet Intervention or the Wellness Contact Control Internet Group. The Physical Activity Internet Intervention, based on Social Cognitive Theory and the Transtheoretical Model, utilizes a website with features including self-monitoring, goal setting, discussion forum, links to online resources, individually tailored and motivation-matched physical activity feedback reports, and exercise tip sheets. Participants receive regular emails over the first 6months with a tapered dose during the second 6months (maintenance phase) to alert them to new content on the website. The main outcome is differences in minutes/week of moderate to vigorous physical activity at six months as measured by the 7-Day Physical Activity Recall and accelerometer data. High reach, low cost, culturally relevant Internet-based interventions that encourage physical activity among Latinas could help reduce health disparities and thus have a substantial positive impact on public health.

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