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U Of Illinois Grant Will Work To Improve Health Of Older Minorities





The University of Illinois at Chicago has received a $1.9 million grant
from the National Institute on Aging to improve the health of older
underserved minority adults, particularly Latinos.

The UIC Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation will
test, build and share health promotion programs to improve the
functioning and quality of life of seniors. The center is one of 13
federally funded Edward R. Roybal Centers for Research on Applied
Gerontology.

Very few minorities participate in effective, evidence-based health
promotion programs that help older adults make behavior changes to
increase the quality of their lives, said Susan Hughes, principal
investigator of the project and co-director of the Center for Research
on Health and Aging at UIC's Institute for Health Research and Policy.

"We hope to adapt effective programs to be culturally sensitive and
examine ways to encourage older minority adults to participate," Hughes
said.

The five-year renewal grant will build on prior research conducted at
UIC with Roybal Center funding and identify new research projects
focused on changing the health behaviors of individuals and
communities.

Researchers will adapt and translate Fit and Strong!, a low-cost
physical activity/health behavior change program, for Latino
participants in Phoenix and Chicago. The program provides 60 minutes of
exercise and 30 minutes of education three times a week for 8 weeks.
Previous research at UIC found the program to be effective for older
adults with osteoarthritis, the most common chronic condition and the
primary cause of disability in older adults.

"The focus is on making exercises easy to do, developing individual
routines, and reinforcing new behaviors," said Hughes. "Fit and Strong!
can significantly reduce lower-back, hip, knee, ankle, and foot
stiffness and pain, and enhance maintenance of physical activity in
older adults for up to 18 months."

A second pilot project targets low-income seniors who are frail and
homebound and are eligible for services from the Illinois Department on
Aging's Community Care Program. The seniors are at high risk for
nursing home placement, but receive no health-promotion services and
are not able to participate in group exercise programs in the
community.

A third pilot project will conduct a walking audit in a Latino area of
Chicago and compare it to perceived barriers and facilitators among
older adult Latino residents in the same neighborhood. The findings
will be used to improve access to safe leisure-time physical activity
in South Chicago.

A fourth project will adapt and translate Tai Chi for older adult
Latinos with type 2 diabetes in an attempt to reduce their stress and
blood sugar levels.

The UIC Midwest Roybal Center also received a supplement from the
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to support
new pilot research on minority adults growing into old age with a
disability.

Finally, the center is developing and testing an intervention to
improve gait and balance and reduce the risk of falls among older
adults. The study will be conducted by Renae Smith-Ray, doctoral
candidate in community health sciences, who received support from the
Agency for Health Research and Quality.

Co-investigators on the grant are Tamar Heller, UIC professor and head
of the Institute on Disability and Human Development; Thomas Prohaska,
UIC professor of community health sciences; Karen Peters, UIC assistant
professor of community health sciences; James Rimmer, UIC professor of
disability and human development; Cheryl Der Ananian, assistant
professor at Arizona State University; David Xavier Marquez, UIC
assistant professor of kinesiology and nutrition; Amparo Del Castillo,
training director at the UIC Midwest Latino Health Research, Training
and Policy Center; and William Baldyga, associate director at the UIC
Institute for Health Research and Policy.

For more information about UIC, visit www.uic.edu

- UIC -
CONTACT: Sherri McGinnis González, (312) 996-8277, smcginn@uic.edu


 



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