USING PEDESTRIAN COUNTS TO ASSESS COMMUNITY-WIDE INTERVENTIONS TO INCREASE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY IN RURAL CUBA, NEW MEXICO
Hannah Torres, Sally Davis, Theresa Cruz.
University of New Mexico Medical School Prevention Research Center, Albuquerque, NM.
Rural residents are often less active than urban and suburban residents. Reasons cited in the literature include certain environmental barriers such as lack of sidewalks, bike lanes, and affordable exercise facilities. The Village Interventions and Venues for Activity (VIVA) Step Into Cuba project aims to address these barriers in Cuba, New Mexico, by implementing community-wide interventions to increase physical activity. The aim of this study was to determine whether the implemented interventions resulted in an increase in walking over time. The data were collected according to methods established by the National Bicycle and Pedestrian Project. These methods included field observations performed by trained researchers and community members on 3 days of the week (Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday) during 2 time intervals (12 noon - 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. - 7 p.m.). The total sample included counts of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other non-motorized traffic obtained during the month of May from 2010 to 2015 and totaled 1,772 observations in 3 established locations. Data were characterized by type of traffic, location, gender, age, and year. Analysis showed a decline in travels over the study period, with an average decrease of 9.08 people per year. There was an increase of about 5.2 pedestrians per year among individuals under the age of 18. Weather may have accounted for the decline, as rain was documented on observation dates for the last 3 years, while the first 3 were indicated as sunny or mild weather. These results will be used by the VIVA project to tailor further interventions to increase physical activity in rural communities in New Mexico.