Randomized Trial of a Physical Activity Intervention for Latino Men: Activo


      Latino men experience disproportionately high rates of diseases related to low physical activity, yet they are poorly represented in physical activity intervention trials. Efforts to promote physical activity in Latina women show promising results, yet such interventions are yet to be extended to Latino men. This study tested a computer expert system‒tailored, text messaging-supported physical activity intervention for underactive Spanish-speaking Latino men compared with a control group matched for contact time. Potential predictors of intervention success were also explored.

      Study design

      Randomized trial. Participants were randomized to receive a Tailored Physical Activity Intervention (Intervention) or a Wellness Control (Control). Data were collected in 2015–2017 and analyzed in 2018–2019.


      Insufficiently active Latino men (n=46).


      Intervention participants received a baseline counseling session and then, individually tailored print materials and text messages on a tapered schedule for 6 months. Control participants received printed wellness materials and text messages on the same schedule.

      Main outcome measures

      Primary outcome was a change in weekly moderate to vigorous physical activity from baseline to 6 months measured by accelerometers. Self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity measured by the 7-day Physical Activity Recall Interview was a secondary outcome.


      For Intervention participants, median accelerometer-measured moderate to vigorous physical activity increased from 10.0 minutes/week at baseline to 57.5 minutes/week at 6 months, whereas for Control participants, it increased from 21.0 minutes/week at baseline to 23.0 minutes/week at 6 months (p<0.05). Similar results were found for self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity. At 6 months, 47% of Intervention participants met national guidelines of 150 minutes/week versus 25% of Control participants (p=0.15, not significant).


      Findings suggest that an individually tailored intervention can successfully increase moderate to vigorous physical activity in underactive Latino men. Such technology-supported interventions have the potential for broad dissemination.

      Trial registration

      This study is registered at NCT02512419.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Umpierrez GE
        • Gonzalez A
        • Umpierrez D
        • Pimentel D
        Diabetes mellitus in the Hispanic/Latino population: an increasing health care challenge in the United States.
        Am J Med Sci. 2007; 334: 274-282
        • Ogden CL
        • Carroll MD
        • Kit BK
        • Flegal KM
        Prevalence of obesity among adults: United States, 2011-2012.
        NCHS Data Brief. 2013; : 1-8
        Date accessed: March 11, 2020
        • Marcus BH
        • Dunsiger SI
        • Pekmezi D
        • et al.
        Twelve-month physical activity outcomes in Latinas in the Seamos Saludables Trial.
        Am J Prev Med. 2015; 48: 179-182
        • Marcus BH
        • Hartman SJ
        • Larsen BA
        • et al.
        Pasos Hacia La Salud: a randomized controlled trial of an internet-delivered physical activity intervention for Latinas.
        Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2016; 13: 62
        • Griffith DM
        • Bergner EM
        • Cornish EK
        • McQueen CM
        Physical activity interventions with African American or Latino men: a systematic review.
        Am J Mens Health. 2018; 12: 1102-1117
        • White MC
        • Shoemaker ML
        • Park S
        • et al.
        Prevalence of modifiable cancer risk factors among U.S. adults aged 18-44 years.
        Am J Prev Med. 2017; 53: S14-S20
        • Arredondo EM
        • Sotres-Alvarez D
        • Stoutenberg M
        • et al.
        Physical activity levels in U.S. Latino/Hispanic adults: results from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos.
        Am J Prev Med. 2016; 50: 500-508
        • Blackwell DL
        • Villarroel MA
        Tables of Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2017 National Health Interview Survey. National Center for Health Statistics.
        National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD2018 (Published 2017)
        • Neighbors CJ
        • Marquez DX
        • Marcus BH
        Leisure-time physical activity disparities among Hispanic subgroups in the United States.
        Am J Public Health. 2008; 98: 1460-1464
        • National Center for Health Statistics
        Health, United States, 2018.
        National Center for Health Statistics, Hyattsville, MD2019
        Date accessed: March 11, 2020
        • Sohn EK
        • Porch T
        • Hill S
        • Thorpe Jr, RJ
        Geography, race/ethnicity, and physical activity among men in the United States.
        Am J Mens Health. 2017; 11: 1019-1027
        • Schiller JS
        • Lucas JW
        • Ward BW
        • Peregoy JA
        Summary health statistics for U.S. adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2010.
        Vital Health Stat 10. 2012; : 1-207
        • Ogden CL
        • Carroll MD
        • Kit BK
        • Flegal KM
        Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012.
        JAMA. 2014; 311: 806-814
        • Mathieu RA
        • Powell-Wiley TM
        • Ayers CR
        • et al.
        Physical activity participation, health perceptions, and cardiovascular disease mortality in a multiethnic population: the Dallas Heart Study.
        Am Heart J. 2012; 163: 1037-1040
        • Martinez J
        • Powell J
        • Agne A
        • Scarinci I
        • Cherrington A
        A focus group study of Mexican immigrant men's perceptions of weight and lifestyle.
        Public Health Nurs. 2012; 29: 490-498
        • Valdez LA
        • Morrill KE
        • Griffith DM
        • Lindberg NM
        • Hooker SP
        • Garcia DO
        Mexican origin Hispanic men's perspectives of physical activity-related health behaviors.
        Am J Mens Health. 2019; 13 (1557988319834112)
        • Larsen BA
        • Dunsiger S
        • Hartman S
        • et al.
        Activo: assessing the feasibility of designing and implementing a physical activity intervention for Latino Men.
        Int J Mens Health. 2014; 13: 60-71
        • Marcus BH
        • Dunsiger SI
        • Pekmezi DW
        • et al.
        The Seamos Saludables Study: a randomized controlled physical activity trial of Latinas.
        Am J Prev Med. 2013; 45: 598-605
        • Pew Research Center
        Demographics of mobile device ownership and adoption in the United States.
        Pew Research Center, Washington, DC2017 (Published)
      1. Duggan M. Cell phone Activities 2012. Accessed August 1, 2019.

        • Fanning J
        • Mullen SP
        • McAuley E
        Increasing physical activity with mobile devices: a meta-analysis.
        J Med Internet Res. 2012; 14: e161
        • Lau PWC
        • Lau EY
        • Wong del P
        • Ransdell L
        A systematic review of information and communication technology-based interventions for promoting physical activity behavior change in children and adolescents.
        J Med Internet Res. 2011; 13: e48
        • Thomas S
        • Reading J
        • Shephard RJ
        Revision of the physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q).
        Can J Sport Sci. 1992; 17: 338-345
        • Bravata DM
        • Smith-Spangler C
        • Sundaram V
        • et al.
        Using pedometers to increase physical activity and improve health: a systematic review.
        JAMA. 2007; 298: 2296-2304
        • Parker RM
        • Baker DW
        • Williams MV
        • Nurss JR
        The test of functional health literacy in adults: a new instrument for measuring patients’ literacy skills.
        J Gen Intern Med. 1995; 10: 537-541
        • Janz KF
        Validation of the CSA accelerometer for assessing children's physical activity.
        Med Sci Sport Exerc. 1994; 26: 369-375
        • Melanson Jr, EL
        • Freedson PS
        Validity of the Computer Science and Applications, Inc. (CSA) activity monitor.
        Med Sci Sport Exerc. 1995; 27: 934-940
        • Troiano RP
        • Berrigan D
        • Dodd KW
        • Mâsse LC
        • Tilert T
        • Mcdowell M
        Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008; 40: 181-188
        • Prince SA
        • Adamo KB
        • Hamel ME
        • Hardt J
        • Connor Gorber S
        • Tremblay M
        A comparison of direct versus self-report measures for assessing physical activity in adults: a systematic review.
        Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2008; 5: 56
        • Hayden-Wade HA
        • Coleman KJ
        • Sallis JF
        • Armstrong C
        Validation of the telephone and in-person interview versions of the 7-day PAR.
        Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2003; 35: 801-809
        • Leenders NY
        • Sherman WM
        • Nagaraja HN
        • Kien CL
        Evaluation of methods to assess physical activity in free-living conditions.
        Med Sci Sport Exerc. 2001; 33: 1233-1240
        • Dunn AL
        • Garcia ME
        • Marcus BH
        • Kampert JB
        • Kohl HW
        • Blair SN
        Six-month physical activity and fitness changes in Project Active, a randomized trial.
        Med Sci Sport Exerc. 1998; 30: 1076-1083
        • Dunn AL
        • Marcus BH
        • Kampert JB
        • Garcia ME
        • Kohl 3rd, HW
        • Blair SN
        Comparison of lifestyle and structured interventions to increase physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness: a randomized trial.
        JAMA. 1999; 281: 327-334
        • Rauh MJD
        • Hovell MF
        • Hofstetter CR
        • Sallis JF
        • Gleghorn A
        Reliability and validity of self-reported physical activity in Latinos.
        Int J Epidemiol. 1992; 21: 966-971
        • Bock BC
        • Marcus BH
        • Pinto BM
        • Forsyth LH
        Maintenance of physical activity following an individualized motivationally tailored intervention.
        Ann Behav Med. 2001; 23: 79-87
        • Marcus BH
        • Selby VC
        • Niaura RS
        • Rossi JS
        Self-efficacy and the stages of exercise behavior change.
        Res Q Exerc Sport. 1992; 63: 60-66
        • Marcus BH
        • Rossi JS
        • Selby VC
        • Niaura RS
        • Abrams DB
        The stages and processes of exercise adoption and maintenance in a worksite sample.
        Health Psychol. 1992; 11: 386-395
        • Piercy KL
        • Troiano RP
        • Ballard RM
        • et al.
        The physical activity guidelines for Americans.
        JAMA. 2018; 320: 2020-2028
        • Schoeppe S
        • Vandelanotte C
        • Rebar AL
        • Hayman M
        • Duncan MJ
        • Alley SJ
        Do singles or couples live healthier lifestyles? Trends in Queensland between 2005-2014.
        PLoS One. 2018; 13e0192584
        • Ayala GX
        • San Diego Prevention Research Center Team
        Effects of a promotor-based intervention to promote physical activity: Familias Sanas y Activas.
        Am J Public Health. 2011; 101: 2261-2268