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Reflective Statement

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Individuals' thoughts, hearts and lives are shaped by the places  they come from, the environments in which they grow up and the experiences they have been through. We all come from different walks of life and that is diversity. As we begin to understand and feel compassion for each other, we will be able to see and accept the diversity of the world as a collage of different colors, feels, shapes and sounds; sounds of struggle, suffering, resistance, defeat, and victory. Embracing and learning from our differences and accepting and celebrating our similarities are the greatest hope for a more just and loving world.

Evidence of Competence in Diversity and Culture

Physical Activity and Latina Adolescents in Oakland, CA

Introduction

According to Healthy People 2010, physical education is a leading health indicator because it is associated with higher death rates for adults of any age when physical activity is not performed. Regular physical activity increases muscle and bone strength, helps decrease body fat, aids in weight control, enhances psychological well being, reduces the risk of developing depression and anxiety and improves mood. Among the populations with low rates of physical activity are women, people with lower incomes and less education, African Americans and Hispanics, and people with disabilities. Research showed that among marginalized groups, Latinas, have high prevalence of physical inactivity. .

Our research revealed that the lack of safety in neighborhoods and limited access to recreational facilities are barriers to physical activity in Oakland. In addition, physical education classes are lacking and inadequate in most high schools; gender and cultural specific issues such as increased time pressures (youth are busier with tasks at home), insecurity in front of peers, and a lack of interest in sports also serve as barriers to physical activity for Latina teens.

Community Description

In Alameda County, Latino youth had the highest rates of teen births and overweight. Overall, Asian/Pacific Islander and White youth tended to have better health outcomes than African American and Latino youth. Health outcomes varied across school districts. East and West Oakland had much higher rates of poverty and asthma than other areas in Alameda County. Overweight rates were highest in the Hayward, Oakland and New Haven Unified School Districts.

Key Determinants

A. Built Environment

  • Neighborhood violence and crime
  • Insufficient or inadequate parks and recreational facilities
  • Reduction or removal of physical education and recess in schools
  • Lack of transportation options

B. Gender specific and cultural factors

  • Disinterest in competitive sports
  • Concerns about appearance
  • Feeling self-conscious about being active in front of peers
  • Increasing time pressures

 

Intervention Recommendations

  1. Culturally appropriate physical education (e.g. dance, sports, yoga) classes conducted by full-time physical education/dance teachers. Youth will have options to choose from including hip hop, salsa, African dance, softball, soccer, etc.
  2. Community Service Project. Provides students with the opportunity to share their PE experience with their family, and or other students in a mini-workshop design.
  3. Performance of sports and Fundraising Event. Students will conduct fundraising events to collect funds to purchase uniforms or dance costumes.


I invite you to view the full project located in the left-hand sidebar.

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