Evidence-Based Strategies There are a lot of ideas out there to promote walking and create walkable communities. VIVA Connects uses only those with strong evidence to back them up. The strategies that we promote are based on recommendations published in The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide). The Community Guide is a collection of evidence-based findings of the Community Preventive Services Task Force. The Task Force issues findings based on systematic reviews of effectiveness and economic evidence. VIVA Connects adapts the ideas in The Community Guide to on-the-ground conditions in rural New Mexico. Much of the research reviewed in The Guide comes from urban or suburban communities where people have greater access to stairs, public transportation, gyms, and parks. One recommendation, for example, advises putting signs in multi-story buildings that encourage people to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Many small towns in New Mexico have no multistory buildings, let alone elevators. Working hand-in-hand with community leaders, we creatively translate and implement these recommendations in ways that take advantage of New Mexico’s strengths, including its culture, climate, and unsurpassed natural landscapes.

Step Into Cuba - Social Support for Physical Activity

Community-Wide Campaigns

Work together across sectors to implement campaigns to increase physical activity using highly visible, broad-based, multi-component strategies.

Fact Sheet

Creating or Improving Places for Physical Activity

Worksites, coalitions, agencies, and communities work together to change local environments to create opportunities for physical activity.

Fact Sheet

Individually Adapted Programs

Create programs that teach people behavioral skills to help them incorporate physical activity into their daily routines.

Fact Sheet

Built Environment Approaches

Create or modify environmental characteristics in a community to make physical activity easier or more accessible by combining transportation systems with land use and environmental design features.

Fact Sheet

Social Support Interventions

Focus on building, strengthening, and maintaining social networks that provide supportive relationships for behavior change.

Fact Sheet

Evidence-Based Strategies

The evidence-based strategies were based on the recommendations published, after a review of the best evidence, in the Guide to Community Preventive Services (Community Guide) of the Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF). However, most of the research reviewed in the Community Guide was conducted in urban communities, where people have access to gyms, parks, elevators, stairs, public transportation, and a wider range of lifestyle conditions than are available in most rural communities in New Mexico. For example, one of the recommendations is installation in multistory buildings of point-of-decision prompt signs that say, “Take the stairs instead of the elevator for your heart. “But many rural communities have no buildings higher than one floor.  Our approach was to select strategies to implement the recommendations that fit the local culture, geography, and context. At the request of other New Mexico communities , VIVA-Step Into Cuba is now focusing on sharing what we and others  have learned to scale-up to VIVA Connects. Accordingly, we have combined the evidence-based approach from the Community Guide and evidence derived from our experiences in Cuba and are sharing this with other communities across New Mexico.

We want to work with you and your group of interested community members to explore the evidence and come up with a plan for how to increase venues and social support and other strategies for physical activity in your specific community.

The Community Guide

To learn more about the strategies from the Community Guide used in Cuba, see our Community Guide in Action Story, It Takes a Village on the Community Guide website, Step Into Cuba videos that illustrate the effects of evidence-based strategies, The VIVA story from the Community Guide, and check out the other strategies that we did not use in Cuba but that the Community Guide also recommends. You can also download Community Guide’s pdf about physical activity here.

To Learn More

Check out the Community Guide’s recommendations for enhancing physical activity and learn more about:
  • Behavioral and Social Approaches
  • Campaigns and Informational Approaches
  • Environmental and Policy Approaches