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ORIGINAL RESEARCH

GIS Walking Maps to Promote Physical Activity in Low-Income Public Housing Communities: a Qualitative Examination

The image is of a geographic information system (GIS) map that was generated for participants of 4 focus groups, which were conducted as part of a larger study, Open Doors to Health. Maps were generated for residents of housing sites that participated in Open Doors to Health to encourage residents to increase their physical activity by walking in their neighborhoods. The map is titled “Neighborhood Walking Guide” and depicts major landmarks and streets, which are clearly labeled. On the left-hand side of the map, the following text is printed: “Waking is an easy way to get exercise every day! Instructions: Use this guide to plan a walk on most days of the week. Most walkers can get from Franklin Highlands to any of the places on the map in less than 30 minutes. Try to walk to places that you would normally drive or take the bus to. Sometimes it is faster to walk — and it is more fun!” Printed below this text is the translation in Spanish. On the right-hand side of the map, the following text is printed: “Regular exercise lowers your risks for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. And remember, to stay healthy, you should exercise for at least 30 minutes on at least 5 days of the week. Start slow and aim for this goal. Eventually you should try to exercise hard enough to make you sweat. If you have a pedometer, challenge yourself! Use it to count your steps and do more walking.” Printed below this text is the translation in Spanish.

Figure. Example of a neighborhood walking guide distributed to focus group participants from Open Doors to Health, Boston, Massachusetts, 2006.

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