Thursday, April 23, 2015

Salt Lake County; Making the Active Choice Easier for Tongan Americans

Nearly a quarter of the 60,000 Tongan Americans in the United States live in Salt Lake County, Utah. In the late 2000s, the Utah Health Department found the Pacific Islander population had the highest rates of obesity in the state, and that obesity rates for Tongan Americans specifically were on the rise. 
NTAS_SharedUseZumba
The Salt Lake City-based National Tongan American Society (NTAS) took action to help Tongans who wanted to improve their health, but couldn’t afford gym memberships, access exercise equipment, or find affordable group activities.

NTAS’ research in 2013 led them to shared use, which occurs when government entities or other organizations open up their recreation facilities for community use. It seemed like a cost-effective way to create opportunities for physical activity. “We didn’t know where to start. Our internet search for ‘shared use’ led us straight to ChangeLab Solutions,” said Fahina Tavake-Pasi, Executive Director of NTAS. 

With ChangeLab Solutions’ help, NTAS developed a shared use agreement to help six churches, five schools, and one community center open up their playgrounds, tennis courts, and gymnasiums. Trained coaches volunteered to teach classes, and NTAS promoted the open locations and programs on billboards and online. Church-hosted Zumba classes have been especially popular among people of all ages and ethnicities; some classes have up to 140 participants!

Read the whole story to learn more about how NTAS made shared use a reality in Salt Lake County. Contact ChangeLab Solutions to learn more about shared use or to receive technical assistance.


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