The overall goal of the Physical Activity Policy Research Network Plus New Mexico (PAPRN+ NM) is to contribute to the evidence base for effective physical activity promotion policies through trans-disciplinary research and evaluation. Policies that promote walking and other forms of physical activity have the potential to significantly impact the health and well-being of children and adults in the United States. Roughly half of adults fail to meet national guidelines for aerobic physical activity1 and approximately three-quarters of children ages 12-15 fail to meet the guidelines.2 Over the last decade, a variety of policies and related environmental strategies have been adopted to promote physical activity, including walking.3 It is necessary to have a corresponding research agenda that focuses on these policies and addresses gaps in our understanding of the conditions and contexts that facilitate or impede adoption, implementation and behavior change. To address these gaps, the UNM PRC will work in partnership with the other PAPRN+ Collaborating Centers, the PAPRN+ Coordinating Center, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support a strong research and evaluation agenda. Specifically, we will work collaboratively to identify physical activity policies, identify determinants of the policies, describe the policy implementation process, and determine policy outcomes. As a component of this research agenda, we propose a pilot project assessing the existence of, and evaluating the implementation of, policies that promote complete streets, joint use agreements, pedestrian safety, and increased use of public spaces. This research will be conducted in New Mexico, a largely rural, majority- minority state with substantial Hispanic and American Indian populations, typically under-represented in research. We will partner with the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Alliance of Health Councils to conduct a policy scan, code the policies against model policies, identify determinants of policy adoption, and evaluate the policy implementation process. We will also provide leadership and serve as a local, statewide and national resource in physical activity policy research and evaluation. This study is consistent with the CDC s Winnable Battles, Healthy People 2020 objectives, National Prevention Strategy priorities, and Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Domains focusing on increasing physical activity through policy and environmental interventions. The research also incorporates many of the societal sectors described in the National Physical Activity Action Plan (e.g., Education, Public Health, and Transportation). Building on national, state, community and PRC priorities, PAPRN+ NM will address existing gaps in physical activity policy research, and will disseminate findings widely in order to facilitate the translation of research into policy and practice.
Policies that promote walking and other forms of physical activity have the potential to significantly impact the health and well-being of children and adult in the United States. There are substantial gaps in the evidence regarding physical activity policies and their determinants, as well as the implementation process and outcomes. The Physical Activity Policy Research Network Plus New Mexico (PAPRN+ NM) will address this through collaboration with national PAPRN+ partners to support a strong physical activity policy research and evaluation agenda, and by contributing to the evidence base by conducting physical activity policy research in a majority-minority state with large Hispanic and American Indian populations.