Posts tagged Shari Barkin
Community recreation centers that develop culturally tailored programs that invite Latino families inside can increase sustained use of the center for physical activity in this population at heightened risk for childhood obesity, according to a new study in Childhood Obesity.
Living near community recreation centers (CRC) is associated with increases in adolescent and adult physical activity.
However, the efficacy of efforts to increase use among Latino parents and children is unknown.
So researchers, led by Dr. Shari Barkin, a Vanderbilt University researcher and grantee of Salud America!, compared 66 Latino parent–child pairs who had participated in a culturally tailored healthy lifestyle program at a community recreation center and completed a 12-month follow-up assessment to 62 pairs living within a 5-mile radius of the center.
About two-thirds of Latinos in the healthy lifestyle program reported more than monthly use of the center for themselves a year after programming ended, compared to one-third of those who didn’t.
Parents in the program also were four times more likely than the others to use the center with their children on a monthly basis.
Dr. Barkin is one of 20 grantee researchers of Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children. The network is based at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center.
Editor’s Note: This is a 20-part series featuring new research briefs on Latino childhood obesity, nutrition, physical activity and more by the 20 grantees of Salud America! Part 15 is Dr. Shari Barkin. Find all briefs here.
Dr. Shari Barkin
“Exposure to Recreation Center Increases Use by Latino Families with Young Children”
In her Salud America! pilot research project, Dr. Shari Barkin of Vanderbilt University Medical Center assessed how exposure to a community recreation center affects whether Latino families with young children use the center for physical activity.
This assessment was conducted one year after families participated in a culturally-relevant healthy-lifestyles program at the center.
Key preliminary findings include:
- programmed exposure to a community recreation center led to self-reported increases in physical activity use one year later by Latino parents and their children.
This study suggests an effective, low-cost approach that could be used to promote Latino families’ use of recreation facilities for increased physical activity.
Policymakers should be aware that building or renovating a center may not be the only step needed to support a community’s healthy lifestyle—creating programs that encourage families to “walk through the door” and learn how to use a community recreation center can lead to sustainable behavior change to support improved health through routine physical activity.
Read more here.
Salud America! is an RWJF national program directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, the team behind SaludToday.
Salud America!, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that is dedicated to reducing childhood obesity among Latinos, will be featured prominently at the upcoming American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting from Nov. 6-10, 2010, in Denver.
If you’re at the APHA Meeting, please attend the Salud America! session at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2010.
Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of Salud America!, will lead the session, which will introduce the program and the challenges and potential solutions to Latino childhood obesity. Then you’ll hear from a trio of Salud America! pilot researchers: Drs. Shari Barkin, Emma Sanchez and Cristina Barroso. Dr. Larry Green, Salud America! National Advisory Committee member, will serve as session respondent.
Since its establishment in 2008, Salud America! has developed a network of more than 1,700 researchers, health groups, community leaders, policy-makers and others who are united in research and awareness to identify and promote the most promising obesity-prevention strategies for Latino communities.
The program sends Latino childhood obesity news, stories, events, resources and funding opportunities to its network through blog posts, monthly E-alerts and quarterly E-newsletters. Also, in July 2009, fueled by the network’s innovative Delphi survey, which yielded the first-ever National Latino Childhood Obesity Research Priority Agenda, Salud America! and RWJF initiated a national competitive grant process and funded 20 junior- and mid-career scientists from across the U.S. to conduct pilot research projects focusing on policy and environmental solutions to local Latino childhood obesity issues.
RWJF, which funds Salud America!, also has created a blog to feature news from the APHA Meeting.
Dr. Shari Barkin, a grantee of Salud America! The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Research Nework to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children and a Vanderbilt University pediatric researcher, has been awarded a new $12 million NIH project, “Growing Right Onto Wellness (GROW): Changing Early Body Mass Index (BMI).”
The seven-year project, which teams Vanderbilt’s Department of Pediatrics with Metro Nashville Parks and Recreation, will bring 600 families to their neighborhood park facilities and provide a curriculum specially designed to fit a variety of ethnic groups.
The project was one of four funded through the NIH’s $49.5 million Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Research (COPTR) program, which is among the first long-term obesity prevention and treatment research studies in children.
Barkin’s pilot project for Salud America!, which is led by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio (the team behind SaludToday), aims to increase access to physical activity and use of community recreation centers by Latino families to reduce pediatric obesity.
“We’re very excited about Dr. Barkin’s Salud America! pilot project with us and her new NIH award,” said Salud America! Director Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez. “She’s an outstanding researcher who is truly dedicated to improving the health of young people in this country.”
Like many young girls, Shari Barkin wanted to be a Broadway dancer.
So she practiced rigorously—two hours a morning before school—and put together a strong résumé as a professional ballerina. At age 16 she was accepted by The Washington Ballet, a company recognized internationally for its high standards and artistic integrity, then joined a traveling jazz company, dancing in front of thousands.
She even got to Broadway, dancing in New York after her freshman year in college.
But one morning her sophomore year, she awoke and couldn’t move her legs. She was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the body’s immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system, causing varying degrees of leg weakness.
She was hospitalized for weeks and realized a dance career was too risky – but a new career option quickly arose.
“My medical care, while competent, was not compassionate, comprehensive or clear. When I had recovered, I went back to that same floor and volunteered. I wanted to listen to patients and help them find their voice to ensure they could get what they needed,” said Barkin, who went on to get medical and public health degrees. “This experience not only shaped my career choice but shaped how I view the world.”
Read more about Barkin and how her experience led her to research solutions to Latino childhood oebsity on Page 4 of the Salud America! Spring 2010 E-Newsletter.
Salud America! is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation network to pevent obesity among Latino kids. The network is directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, which developed SaludToday. To sign up to receive Salud America! E-newsletters, go here.