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Obesity is a serious health issue and is a primary risk factor for a myriad of chronic diseases. Obesity is rooted in socio-cultural, economic, and political factors, and thus disparities exist in the obesity disease burden. In the United States, poorer and rural populations, as well as Hispanic and American Indian populations, suffer elevated obesity rates. Physical activity is a key obesity and chronic disease prevention and treatment mechanism, and research shows that broad-based, multi-component, community-wide initiatives are effective in increasing physical activity within communities. However, most prevention efforts have been designed for urban, non-Hispanic and non-Native populations. More research is needed in order to create successful prevention programs for rural and diverse communities. This study focuses on Cuba, New Mexico - a rural, under-resourced, and majority Hispanic and American Indian community that suffers a disproportionate chronic disease burden. This study is a component of the University of New Mexico Prevention Research Center’s evaluation of the VIVA-Step Into Cuba initiative, a physical activity-focused prevention program. Data were analyzed from three consecutive years of an annual VIVA-Step Into Cuba cross-sectional survey. Nine walking related and demographic variables were analyzed in order to describe differences in barriers and facilitators to physical activity within the Cuba population. Differences in facilitators and barriers by gender and age were identified. The findings of this study provide insight not only in terms of improving the Step Into Cuba program, but also in terms of designing more effective rural and minority physical activity interventions.

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Physical Activity in the Rural Southwest Self-Identified Barriers and Facilitators to Walking