The proposed Center of Excellence on Diabetes in Americans of Mexican Descent aims to conduct research on the physiologic progression to diabetes and its complications among Mexican Americans, and to develop diabetes prevention strategies and test innovative approaches to effective interventions in a minority population severely affected by type 2 diabetes. This Center proposes an administrative core, a research core including three research projects and two pilot studies, a training core and a community engagement core. As part of the Research Core, the Tu Salud, jSi Cuenta!: A Community-Based Media Intervention for Mexican Americans research project will test its effectiveness for modifying physical activity and healthy food choices, two underlying modifiable behaviors associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Population-based strategies to modify behaviors are needed in order to address the overwhelming numbers of people becoming obese, particularly Mexican Americans. The use of mass media depicting attractive and influential role models (Behavioral Journalism) is a promising intervention method that has demonstrated positive effects. We propose a novel adaptation of a community-based media intervention for disadvantaged Mexican Americans living along the US / Mexico border. The Tu Salud jSi Cuenta! (Your Health Matters!) intervention will provide behavioral journalism-formatted Spanish language information in mass media venues (TV and radio) and small media formats (newsletters) focusing on increasing physical activity and healthful food choices. The media segments will be supported by community outreach and environmental changes. A quasi experimental matched community design will be implemented to assess outcomes among one intervention community and one comparison community. Additionally, a longitudinal follow-up study will examine outcomes among a cohort of Mexican Americans living in the intervention community. The intervention is innovative in its use of behavioral journalism to create Spanish language messages and in its assessment of behavioral and physiological outcomes.
Specific Aim #1 : Using a quasi-experimental matched community design, assess whether a communitybased media intervention positively changes psychosocial, environmental, and behavioral risk factors for type 2 diabetes among Mexican Americans.
Specific Aim #2 : Using a longitudinal follow-up study of participants in the Cameron County Hispanic Cohort, assess whether those who are most aware of the materials, messages and strategies of the intervention have improved physiological profiles from baseline to follow-up, as well as positive changes in psychosocial, environmental, and behavioral risk factors for type 2 diabetes
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