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Health Impact Assessments (HIA) have been conducted throughout the United States, but few have been conducted in rural communities, specifically on the development of trails. This study explores the relationship between trails, social capital, quality of life and health to determine if trail building in the small, rural, tri‐ethnic community of Cuba, NM is associated with increased social capital and thereby increased health. First, a systematic literature review of the benefits of social capital on health and in relation to trails was conducted addressing the importance of social capital for a community. Second, STEP‐HIA survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics for percentages of people indicating if they walk with family/friends and gain both social and health benefits from the trails. Third, qualitative interview data from key stakeholders were examined in NVivo analyzing the relationship between physical activity, access to trails and social support. Overall, these results show the potential of trails to increase social capital and health in Cuba, NM. This information will be incorporated in a HIA to influence decision makers regarding the location of new trails in and around Cuba, and specifically for access to the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). These findings can then be used as evidence to plan the development of trails in other communities, particularly in rural areas surrounded by Public Lands.
Pankayatselvan, Varayini; Sally Davis; Julia Hess; Theresa Cruz; and Danielle Parker. "Examining the Relationships between Trails, Social Capital and Health in Cuba, New Mexico to Inform a HIA." (2012). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/prc-posters-presentations/13