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Promoting Physical Activity: Guide for Useful Interventions for Physical Activity in Brazil and Latin America (Project GUIA)

The Problem

The United States shares many of the same noncommunicable disease challenges as developing countries (physical inactivity, obesity, and related chronic diseases) associated with industrialization and growing urban population density. While effective and feasible interventions exist, their influence is limited.

Where We Work

  • Brazil
  • Latin America
  • United States

Key Partners

  • CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
  • CDC’s Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program
  • The PRC of St. Louis, MO
  • Brazil Ministry of Health
  • Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
  • Universities in Brazil:
    • Federal University of Sao Paulo
    • Federal University of Minas Gerais
    • Federal University of Sergipe
    • Federal University of Espirito Santo
    • Pontiff Catholic University of Parana
    • Federal University of Pelotas
    • University of Pernambuco
    • Center for Physical Aptitude Laboratory Studies of Caetano do Sul

The CDC Response

In collaboration with partners, CDC has funded the development of the Guide for Useful Interventions for Physical Activity in Brazil and Latin America, known as Project GUIA. GUIA means “guide” in Portuguese and Spanish. Project GUIA addresses physical inactivity and obesity by identifying, testing, and disseminating potentially effective interventions that promote physical activity in the Americas. The project also trains public health professionals in research and evaluation techniques and maintains a growing professional network for collaboration. Following a review of English, Spanish, and Portuguese academic publications, researchers sent strong recommendations to Brazil’s decision-makers to implement local school-based physical activity programs to address obesity in children and adolescents. The effectiveness of free public fitness classes with a professional trainer lead to expanding these programs throughout Brazil. The effectiveness of such classes is also being evaluated in the United States.


Project GUIA has trained six international student interns, provided 30 junior-level researchers with first-time research experience, and trained more than 1,000 practitioners in health promotion strategies through a distance-learning program. The research has produced 25 articles in peer-reviewed journals and 47 presentations at scientific meetings.

Vision for Growth

In addition to continuing its work in Brazil, Project GUIA plans to expand to other Latin American countries and to the United States. GUIA colleagues will look for other promising interventions for testing and evaluation throughout the Americas by conducting literature reviews and consultations with community primary-care providers. Findings will be disseminated in future presentations, in publications in peer-reviewed journals, and in training opportunities offered by GUIA partners.

  • Page last reviewed: September 16, 2011
  • Page last updated: September 16, 2011
  • Content source: Global Health
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