Date of Conferral





Public Health


Jeanne Connors


Promotoras are frontline community health workers who help link Latino community members to health and social services. Latino women have high rates of attrition and lack of participation in weight loss programs due to various barriers, and the promotora model is vital to address these concerns. The approach incorporates strong family support and influence to address health and social issues through interdependent ties of promotoras and families who live and work within the community they serve. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore how promotoras influenced the acceptability of and participation in physical activity and dietary modification programs among Latino women. To better understand these interactive and reinforcing behaviors between Latino women, promotoras, and their environments, this study explored the lived experiences of promotoras using the social-ecological model. Fifteen promotoras participated in audio-recorded semistructured interviews. Data analysis followed a six-step thematic analysis process for coding and theme identification. The eight identified and established themes were knowledge of physical activity, diet, and obesity; promotoras’ roles/strategies as influencers; attitudes/beliefs/ and customs; social networks/social support; environmental influences; cultural values; schools/workplace as hubs of practice; and the perceptions of the government as a partner in reinforcing healthy lifestyles. The implications for social change include the potential use of the newly acquired knowledge to design culturally acceptable physical activity and diet programs that reduce barriers and attrition among Latino women and improve the sustainability of interventions in the communities.