PURPOSE: Latinas along the U.S.-Mexico border are among the most physically inactive and obese segment of the U.S. population. There is widespread recognition of the cultural appropriateness of promotoras (community health workers) in health education among Latino communities. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional study with 17 promotoras who reside/work in the region to investigate their physical fitness and energy balance behaviors. Promotoras completed physical testing and self-report on physical activity and dietary behaviors. Participants wore an accelerometer for one week. In addition, the validity of an activity self-report instrument to assess cardiorespiratory fitness was tested. RESULTS: Participants’ average body mass index (BMI) was high (31.4±7.18 kg/m²); 76.5% were overweight or obese, 30% very or extremely obese. Physical functioning levels were low (cardiorespiratory capacity 26.0±9.1 VO2/kg/min; step test 77.4 steps/2-minutes). Objectively measured moderate-vigorous PA (114.6 ± 87.0 minutes/week) was less than PA recommendations. Accelerometry activity significantly correlated with self-report (r = 0.71, p=0.009). Participants self-reported consuming 1889.2±492.8 kCal/day. CONCLUSION: Promotoras’ energy balance behaviors were similar to women where they reside/work. Promotoras engaging in health-promoting behaviors may enhance their effectiveness as change agents in the communities they serve.



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