Culturally tailored aerobic exercise intervention for low-income Latinas

Am J Health Promot. Jan-Feb 2008;22(3):155-63. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.22.3.155.


Purpose: To determine the efficacy of community-based, culturally tailored exercise intervention on the moderate and vigorous physical activity and physiologic outcomes of low-income Latino women (Latinas).

Design: A randomized trial contrasted safety education to an aerobic dance intervention.

Setting: Interventions were held in a "store-front" exercise site near a community clinic.

Subjects: Sedentary low-income Latinas (N = 151; 18-55 years; 70% overweight/obese) were recruited. Retention was 91% for follow-up measures.

Intervention: Three sessions per week of supervised aerobic dance were provided for 6 months. Controls attended 18 safety education sessions over 6 months.

Measures: Physical activity and aerobic fitness (VO2max) were primary outcomes.

Results: Participants in the exercise group reported more vigorous exercise (p < .001) and walking (p = .005) at post-test than controls. Aerobic dance and unsupervised activity resulted in a five-fold greater increase in relative VO2max compared with controls (p < .001). Although exercise and fitness decreased at follow-up, vigorous exercise (p = .001) and relative VO2max (p < .001) remained higher in the exercise group, suggesting maintenance at 1 year. CONDUSION:. Culturally tailored aerobic dance can increase vigorous physical activity, possibly generalizing to walking, and the combination can improve cardiorespiratory fitness in low-income, overweight, sedentary Latinas.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • California
  • Community Health Services
  • Cultural Competency
  • Dancing
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Hispanic Americans* / education
  • Humans
  • Obesity / ethnology
  • Obesity / prevention & control
  • Physical Fitness
  • Poverty / ethnology*
  • Women's Health / ethnology*