Cultural Adaptation of an Obesity Prevention Program for Hispanic Adolescents

Monday, July 11, 2011

Carol Stevens, PhD, MS, RN
College of Nursing& Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ
Bonnie Gance-Cleveland, PhD
College of Nursing and Healthcare Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the various curriculum changes made to adapt a theory-based obesity prevention program to Hispanic adolescents.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to list four changes to the study's design that were implemented as a result of the Community-Based Participatory Research Method.

Purpose: The purpose of this presentation is to describe the cultural adaptation of a theory-based obesity prevention for Hispanic adolescents. Cultural norms surrounding perceptions of healthy weight have been related to the prevalence of obesity in Hispanic youth (Davis et al., 2002). Consideration of cultural influences when designing an obesity prevntion program is key to promoting healthy eating and activity behaviors. Few obesity prevention programs have been culturally adapted for Hispanic middle-schoolers.

Methods: Using a community based participatory research (CBPR) approach, an 8-week, 16 session healthy eating and physical activity (PA) program, Salud con Sabor para Los Niños (SSLN), was adapted to address the cultural values, norms, and health practices of Hispanic youth. In CBPR fashion, collaboration throughout the design of the study between researcher and community partners, including center based promotoras, was conducted. Adaptations were made in the study’s design (i.e. sample, recruitment and retention strategies), intervention and evaluation. For example, intervention activities around nutrition included discussion of traditional Hispanic foods, discussion of healthy lifesytyles was centered around health perceptions driven by Hispanic cultural values, and PA activities included games Hispanic youth enjoy playing such as Salsa dancing, dodgeball and relays.  

Results: A summary of the cultural adaptations to the study design, curriculum, and evaluation will be presented. The Facilitator’s Manual and Student Workbook adapted to include language and pictures that reflect Hispanic culture will also be described.

Conclusion: Cultural adaptation of the SSLN program using CBPR methodology can be effective when designing obesity prevention programs for Hispanic youth.  While the results of the program have yet been evaluated, successful adaptation can increase community commitment and fill a gap in existing obesity programs designed for Hispanic youth.

Davis et al., (1999). Pathways: A culturally appropriate obesity-prevention program for American Indian schoolchildren. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69(4), 796S-802.