||1R01CA230738-01A1 Interpret this number
||Texas A&M Agrilife Research
||Evaluation of a Civic Engagement Approach to Catalyze Built Environment Changeand Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Among Rural Residents
Nearly 70% of US adults are overweight or obese, and the consequences can include increased risk for
several types of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Compared to their urban counterparts, rural
residents tend to have higher rates of cancer, obesity, physical inactivity, and poor diet. Rural residents also
have higher rates of poverty and lower rates of health insurance, and face unique challenges accessing
healthy foods, and/or physical activity opportunities, which contribute to these rural health disparities. Civic
engagement for built environment change (CEBEC) integrates resident-led community assessments with
environmental change initiatives aiming at improving population health. In several pilot studies, engaging and
empowering residents to identify solutions to improve community health have demonstrated successful
implementation. Evidence demonstrating positive change in behaviors and health outcomes using the CEBEC
approach are limited in scope and rigor but show notable and encouraging outcomes (e.g. increased physical
activity). This study proposes to evaluate a CEBEC intervention, the multilevel Change Club (CC) project,
which would be implemented in eight rural locations. The objective of the CC is to reduce rural risk factors for
obesity, cancer, and other chronic diseases through CEBEC physical activity and healthy eating projects. The
CC provides a menu of effective interventions; step-wise planning strategy; behavior change strategies and
goal setting; assessment and engagement tools; and ongoing support via conference calls, webinars, and
discussion boards to rural resident CCs, which typically include about 12-16 residents. For Aim 1, we will
evaluate individual-level health and behavioral outcomes in eight rural towns. We will measure outcomes in CC
members, local social network members (SNM) of CC members, and a sample of town residents recruited
through mass mailings and community events. The primary outcome is Simple 7 composite cardiovascular risk
score, which includes blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol, BMI, diet, smoking, and physical activity;
additional outcomes are knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and self-efficacy related to healthy eating and exercise,
including use of community resources for healthy eating, physical activity, and health care; and environmental
factors. Objective measures, including BMI, biochemical measures, accelerometry, dermal carotenoids, and
blood pressure, will be collected with CC members and a sample of SNM and town residents. Aim 2 includes a
mixed methods process evaluation examining unintended consequences; implementation barriers and
facilitators, including costs; and the effect of community/built environment/policy, social/collective, and
individual-level factors on intervention-specific outcomes. We will compare costs across sites and explore cost-
effectiveness of CC interventions relative to change in Simple 7 score. This project is an innovative opportunity
to evaluate multilevel rural CEBEC interventions focused on chronic disease risk factor behaviors. Outcome
and process data will provide critical insight into the viability of CEBEC interventions for future dissemination.
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