The Walk Around Nevada Program

State: NV Type: Model Practice Year: 2008

Goal: Increase physical activity among adult residents of Clark County, Nevada. Objectives: 1. By December 2007, demonstrate improvements in physical activity level and stage of behavior change among Walk Around Nevada Program participants. 2. By July 2006, enroll at least 500 people in the Walk Around Nevada Program. 3. By May 2006, develop an online walking program to encourage adult residents of Clark County to increase their physical activity.
Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for chronic disease, including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. However, data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveilance System (BRFSS) indicate that adults in Clark County, Nevada, are not currently meeting physical activity guidelines. In 2005, over 28% of Clark County adults indicated they did not participate in any physical activities in the past month. Research has also indicated that walking is an ideal physical activity for many adults, particularly those who are just starting a physical activity program, because of its low cost, low impact, and portability. The Walk Around Nevada Program was designed to increase physical activity among adults living in Clark County. Through an innovative use of accessible, easy to use technology, built-in motivation and behavior modification tips, and incentives, the Walk Around Nevada program has proven to be a useful and effective tool in the effort to increase physical activity among adults in Clark County.
Agency Community RolesThe SNHD Office of Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion (OCDPHP) was the lead in the development and implementation of the Walk Around Nevada Program. SNHD staff were responsible for developing the content, creating the concept, and promoting the program. SNHD staff also oversaw the contractor hired to develop the technical aspects of the program and the contractor used to translate the program into Spanish. SNHD partnered with a researcher at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to conduct the data analysis. SNHD also partnered with other stakeholders during the testing and launch/promotion phases. As the local health district, SNHD has a long standing relationship with many community coalitions. SNHD partnered with several community coalitions to test the program, provide feedback and help promote the program. Some of these coalitions included LUCES (Latinos Unidos Celebrando Salud or Latinos United Celebrating Health), Community Partners for Better Health, and Partners for a Healthy Nevada. Input from members of these coalitions was used to modify the program before the official launch in June 2006. In addition, each coalition agreed to help promote the program to its membership and community contacts. Costs and ExpendituresThe program was developed using a $2,500 contract with a programmer. In addition, $3,300 was spent for incentives (pedometers), $250 was spent on printing, and an additional $40,000 was spent to promote the program on a local television station. In-kind costs included staff time to design program content, the webpage and related promotional flyers and educational materials. ImplementationJanuary 2006-May 2006: SNHD staff researched model online physical activity programs and scientific literature. SNHD contracted with a computer programmer to develop technical programming components of the project. SNHD contracted with certified translator to translate the program into Spanish. The Walk Around Nevada Program went live May 2006 for a testing phase with community partners. The Walk Around Nevada Program was tested with community partners and various coalitions. SNHD staff requested feedback on the program and assistance promoting the program. June 2006: SNHD collaborated with a local television station to launch a one-month media campaign promoting the program. SNHD staff developed program flyers in English and Spanish and distributed them using grassroots contacts and community coalitions. SNHD staff wrote an article on the program that was included in the "Healthy Hearts/Community Partners for Better Health" newsletter, which was distributed to churches, community centers, businesses, and individuals. SNHD issued a press release on the program. Articles on the program were included in "Senior Living" magazine and "Jewish Reporter" magazine. SNHD staff created a Walk Around Nevada walking log so that individuals without Internet access could also participate in program. December 2006: Program was promoted with Southern Nevada Health District employees through an employee challenge. Data were collected from participants via an e-mail survey. July 2007: Data were collected from participants via an e-mail survey.
To increase physical activity, the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD) created the "Walk Around Nevada" (WAN) program. WAN is an online walking program that encourages individuals to increase physical activity by tracking steps or miles. Methods: As participants enter steps/miles, a map of Nevada appears on the screen with a red line that marks the individual’s progress. Participants also have an opportunity to set up or join a virtual walking group. At registration, participants are asked to enter an e-mail address, select a password, and answer a short pre-program survey that includes questions on age, zip code, and gender. Participants also select one of four statements that best reflects their current physical activity level and stage of behavior change. Participants were re-surveyed at six months and one year after the program launch. Data from participants who responded to each of the three data collections were used to evaluate the program. Chi Square was used to determine if people originally in stages one and two progressed to stages 3 or 4, and if a higher proportion of participants was in stage four at the end of year one than at the start. Results: At program onset 28.5% (n=77) were in the contemplation stage, 22.6% (n=61) were at the preparation stage, 18.9% (51) were at the action stage, and 30% (n=81) were at the maintenance stage, meeting physical activity guidelines. The proportion of those in stages 1 or 2 at the start of the program (51.1%), dropped to 30.7% at the end of one year (X2=25.9, p<.001). Conversely, at program onset 30% were meeting guidelines. One year later 52.2% were meeting guidelines. Conclusion: An online physical activity program can be effective at increasing the proportion of participants meeting physical activity guidelines.
The Walk Around Nevada program is a Web-based online walking program. After the initial development, this program essentially became self-sustaining. The program is hosted on the SNHD "Get Healthy" Web site (, which ensures continued exposure and use of the program. This program continues to be included in many SNHD media promotions related to the "Get Healthy" website and physical activity programs. SNHD has also provided resources to purchase incentives for program participants. Information about the program is regularly distributed to the community using existing community partnerships and community events. Program flyers and educational materials in English and Spanish have been and continue to be distributed by SNHD staff and coalition members at community events and health fairs.