Community Walks: a cluster randomized controlled trial of a multilevel physical activity intervention for low income public housing residents

Lisa M. Quintiliani, Julien Dedier, Marislena Amezquita, Melibea Sierra-Ruiz, Dariela Romero, Jennifer Murillo, Sarah Mahar, Melody Goodman, John B. Kane, Doreen Cummings, Timothy G. Woolley, Iolando Spinola, Scott E. Crouter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Physical activity behavioral interventions to change individual-level drivers of activity, like motivation, attitudes, and self-efficacy, are often not sustained beyond the intervention period. Interventions at both environmental and individual levels might facilitate durable change. This community-based study seeks to test a multilevel, multicomponent intervention to increase moderate intensity physical activity among people with low incomes living in U.S. public housing developments, over a 2 year period. Methods: The study design is a prospective, cluster randomized controlled trial, with housing developments (n=12) as the units of randomization. In a four-group, factorial trial, we will compare an environmental intervention (E) alone (3 developments), an individual intervention (I) alone (3 developments), an environmental plus individual (E+I) intervention (3 developments), against an assessment only control group (3 developments). The environmental only intervention consists of community health workers leading walking groups and indoor activities, a walking advocacy program for residents, and provision of walking maps/signage. The individual only intervention consists of a 12-week automated telephone program to increase physical activity motivation and self-efficacy. All residents are invited to participate in the intervention activities being delivered at their development. The primary outcome is change in moderate intensity physical activity measured via an accelerometer-based device among an evaluation cohort (n=50 individuals at each of the 12 developments) from baseline to 24-month follow up. Mediation (e.g., neighborhood walkability, motivation) and moderation (e.g., neighborhood stress) of our interventions will be assessed. Lastly, we will interview key informants to assess factors from the Consolidated Framework for Implementation Research domains to inform future implementation. Discussion: We hypothesize participants living in developments in any of the three intervention groups (E only, I only, and E+I combined) will increase minutes of moderate intensity physical activity more than participants in control group developments. We expect delivery of an intervention package targeting environmental and social factors to become active, combined with the individual level intervention, will improve overall physical activity levels to recommended guidelines at the development level. If effective, this trial has the potential for implementation through other federal and state housing authorities. Trial registration: Clinical PRS Protocol Registration and Results System, NCT05147298 . Registered 28 November 2021.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1676
JournalBMC public health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Cluster randomized trial
  • Multilevel intervention
  • Physical activity
  • Public housing
  • Walking groups

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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