The Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) strives to increase opportunities for physical activity. In February, 2018 Project FINE received SHIP funds to promote walking among refugee and immigrant populations. The project included an assessment to identify barriers to walking in neighborhoods where Project FINE clients live, followed by the development of a series of guides with a map of 1 and 2-mile walking routes in these areas.
To identify the barriers to walking, Project FINE staff spoke with 20 individuals in the Winona and Goodview area. 85% of respondents do not walk or exercise on a regular basis. The most common reasons for not walking for exercise were: lack of infrastructure (sidewalks, crosswalks), unfamiliarity with the neighborhood or not knowing where to go and lack of motivation to exercise. Participants were also asked where they would like to walk if it were safer. The most common answers were in their neighborhood – in this case, Maplewood Townhomes, and Hidden Valley and Lake Village trailer courts.
Survey findings were used to create walking guides for four areas: Maplewood Townhomes, Hidden Valley, Goodview (Lake Village) and Central Winona. The brochures were translated into Hmong and Spanish and were made available in the neighborhoods and at several community events. An estimated 200 families received the walking routes information.
“It’s very helpful to know how far I have walked,” said one person who has been using the walking guides. “The maps encourage me to walk more often,” said another user.