Environmental Factors Influencing Physical Activity Among Latino Families: A Cross-country Comparison

Abriendo Caminos Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This study seeks to compare and contrast barriers to engage in physical activity (PA) among Latino parents in the USA and Mexico given different cultural and environmental contents. Methods: Four bilingual and bicultural trained research assistants conducted focus groups in Mexico and the USA Results: There were 33 total participants. Twenty-one mothers were married; most participants had not completed above a high school education. Most participants were full-time stay-at-home mothers (59%). Analyses revealed several topics of discussion related to beliefs and barriers that contributed to family PA engagement: (1) walking is the most common form of PA for families in both countries; (2) parents believe people of all ages and genders can and should be physically active, but there are differences in access, opportunity, and ability; (3) major barriers to engaging in PA are different for those living in Mexico (safety concerns) than in the USA (weather constraints). Conclusion: These findings have implications for behavioral interventions and understanding how environmental concerns impact Latino families trying to manage healthier lifestyles. Engaging community networks and resources can be a way to combat these barriers to promote PA in all contexts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-538
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cultural differences
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Latino families
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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