Despite evidence that engaging in physical activity on a regular basis decreases the risk and severity of many chronic illnesses and disabilities, fewer than 20% of adults in the United States meet federal guidelines for aerobic and strengthening physical activities (Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 2013). Walking is reported as the most frequently engaged in physical activity (Berrigan et al., 2012). Its popularity, simplicity, accessibility, and inclusivity have made it a public health priority. One promising but potentially underutilized resource for walking is shopping malls. While mall walking is an excellent promotion strategy, additional evaluation is needed to identify and summarize implementation processes and effectiveness as a basis for dissemination. The long-term goal of the proposed project is to develop an in-depth understanding of mall walking programs as a basis for informing communities and management of shopping malls about successful program elements. In pursuit of this goal, the objectives of the proposed project are to evaluate the effectiveness of mall walking programs, to identify and summarize evidence related to the successful components of effective mall walking programs, to develop an evidence and practice-based Mall Walking Program Resource Guide with recommendations for applying a health equity lens, and to identify how the guide can support national prevention and walking promotion strategies. A logic model developed for this project, integrating the reach effectiveness adoption implementation maintenance (RE-AIM) framework, will be used to guide and evaluate inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes, and overarching goals associated with project objectives. We will accomplish our objectives by a) conducting a systematic review of state-of-the-art evidence, practices, and cost using data from web sites and literature (scientific and grey) answering questions about state of the art evidence, practices and cost of mall walking programs as a basis for analyzing their translatability;b) conducting a multiple case study evaluating mall walking programs and related processes answering questions about which mall walking program components work (and do not work);are beneficial, why and for whom;about how programs (or alternatives) reach intergenerational and diverse groups;and lessons learned;and c) summarizing and disseminating successful components of effective mall walking programs through a publishable paper, a Mall Walking Program Resource Guide, and networking with national prevention strategies / programs that promote walking to improve health and quality of life. Our approach is innovative as it brings together recommended processes and standards for program evaluation (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2002) with the RE-AIM framework, whereby practice effects, details, and the voice of program stakeholders will be captured to foster translation of effective programs across multiple real world settings. Our project is significant as it will inform end users how to plan, implement, and sustain a successful mall walking program;a promising but underutilized resource for physical activity.
The proposed project is relevant to public health because the evaluation of mall walking programs is expected to facilitate dissemination of information about best evidence and practices of effective programs, thereby supporting Healthy People 2020 goals of increasing physical activity and reducing disability. The proposed project is relevant to the CDC's mission of protecting the health of people and communities through collaborations that create expertise, information, and tools to promote health and prevent disease, injury, and disability.
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