Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 379–387 | Cite as

Development of an ESL Curriculum to Educate Chinese Immigrants about Physical Activity

  • Victoria M. TaylorEmail author
  • Swee May Cripe
  • Elizabeth Acorda
  • Chong Teh
  • Gloria Coronado
  • Hoai Do
  • Erica Woodall
  • T. Gregory Hislop
Original Paper


Regular physical activity reduces the risk of many chronic conditions. Multiple studies have shown that Asians in North America engage in less physical activity than the general population. One area for strategic development in the area of health education is the design and evaluation of English as a second language (ESL) curricula. The PRECEDE model and findings from focus groups were used to develop a physical activity ESL curriculum for Chinese immigrants. In general, focus group participants recognized that physical activity contributes to physical and mental wellbeing. However, the benefits of physical activity were most commonly described in terms of improved blood circulation, immune responses, digestion, and reflexes. The importance of peer pressure and the encouragement of friends in adhering to regular physical activity regimens were mentioned frequently. Reported barriers to regular physical activity included lack of time, weather conditions, and financial costs. The ESL curriculum aims to both promote physical activity and improve knowledge, and includes seven different ESL exercises. Our curriculum development methods could be replicated for other health education topics and in other limited English-speaking populations.


Chinese immigrants English as a second language (ESL) Health education Physical activity 



The authors would like to thank the following community-based organizations for their assistance with this project: Immigrant Services Society, Richmond Continuing Education, and S.U.C.C.E.S.S. In addition, we would like to thank Ming Berka, Flaury Bubel, Jill Collingwood, Michael Khoo, and Diana Smolic for reviewing the physical activity curriculum. We also thank Jennifer Walsh Marr for her invaluable assistance with curriculum development. Finally, we thank the individuals who participated in the focus groups. This work was supported by grant CA113663 and cooperative agreement CA114640 from the US National Cancer Institute, as well as cooperative agreement U48-DP-000050 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The contents of the article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Cancer Institute.

Open Access

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited


  1. 1.
    Kandula N, Keresey M, Lurie N. Assuring the health of immigrants—What the leading health indicators tell us. Annu Rev Public Health 2004;25:357–76.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Statistics Canada: 2001 Census.; 2005.
  3. 3.
    US Department of Commerce. We the people: Asians in the United States—Census 2000 Special Reports. Washington DC: US Department of Commerce; 2004.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Carroll R, Ali N, Azam N. Promoting physical activity in South Asian Muslim women through “exercise on prescription.” Health Technol Assess 2002;6:5–12.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    American Cancer Society. Cancer prevention and early detection facts and figures—2004. Atlanta: American Cancer Society; 2004.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Dong L, Block G, Mandel S. Activities contributing to total energy expenditure in the United States—Results from the NHAPS study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2004;1:4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    US Department of Agriculture. Dietary guidelines for Americans 2005. Washington DC: US Department of Agriculture; 2005.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    US Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010—Understanding and improving health. Washington DC: US Government Printing Office; 2000.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Addressing cardiovascular health in Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Washington DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2000.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Edwards N, Silisha D, Halbert T, Pond M. Health promotion and health advocacy for and by immigrants in English as a Second Language classes. Can J Public Health 1992;83:159–62.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Massachusetts Department of Education. Why teach health: the adult basic education curriculum framework for health.; 2004.
  12. 12.
    Elder JP, Candelaria JI, Woodruff SI, Criqui MH, Talavera GA, Rupp JW. Results of language for health—Cardiovascular disease nutrition education for Latino English-as-a-second-language students. Health Educ Behav 2000;27(1):50–63.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Hohn M. Empowerment health education in health literacy. Washington DC: National Institute for Literacy; 1998.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Morgan DL. Successful focus groups. Newbury Park: Sage Publications; 1988.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nguyen BH, Vo PH, Doan HT, McPhee SJ. Using focus groups to develop interventions to promote colorectal cancer screening among Vietnamese Americans. J Cancer Educ 2006;21:80–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Morse JM. Determining sample size. Qual Health Res 2000;10:3–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kreuger RA, Casey MA. Focus groups: A practical guide for applied research. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2000.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Gielen AC, McDonald EM. The PRECEDE-PROCEED planning model. In: Glanz KLF, Rimer BK, editors. Health behavior and health education—Theory, research, and practice. San Francisco: Jossey Bass; 2002.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    National Cancer Institute. Theory at a glance—A guide for health promotion practice. Washington DC: US Department of Health and Human Services; 2005.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    California Department of Education. ESL—Model standards for adult education programs. Sacramento: California Department of Education; 1992.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pawlokowska-Smith G. Canadian language benchmarks: English as a second language for adults. Ottawa: Center for Canadian Language Benchwarks; 2000.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    ELSA Net. Newcomber’s guide educational resource.; 2006.
  23. 23.
    Podnecky J, Grognet AG, Crandall J. Life prints—ESL for adults. New York: New Readers Press; 2002.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Taylor VM, Yasui Y, Tu SP, et al. Heart disease prevention among Chinese immigrants. J Community Health (In press).Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Centers for Disease Control. Physical activity and health—A report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: US Government Printing Office; 1996.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    American Diabetes Association. Exercise.; 2005.
  27. 27.
    Belza B, Walwick J, Shui-Thornton S, Schwartz S, Taylor M, LeGerfo J. Older adult perspectives on physical activity and exercise: Voices from multiple cultures.; 2004.
  28. 28.
    Harrison GG, Kagawa-Singer M, Foerster SB, et al. Seizing the moment—California’s opportunity to prevent nutrition-related health disparities in low-income Asian American youth. Cancer (Supplement) 2005;104:2962–8.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Increasing physical activity—A report on recommendations of the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2001;50.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Farquhar SA, Parker EA, Schulz AJ, Israel BA. Application of qualitative methods in program planning for health promotion interventions. Health Prom Pract 2006;7:234–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Morse DL. Critical issues in qualitative research methods. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 1994.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Matthews AK, Cummings S, Thompson S, List M, Olopade OJ. African Americans and genetic testing for susceptibility to inherited cancers: Use of focus group interviews to determine factors contributing to participation. J Psychosoc Oncol 2000;18:1–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Matthews AK, Berrios N, Darnell JS, Calhoun E. A qualitative evaluation of a faith-based breast and cervical cancer screening intervention for African American women. Health Educ Beh 2006;33:643–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Victoria M. Taylor
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Swee May Cripe
    • 1
    • 3
  • Elizabeth Acorda
    • 1
  • Chong Teh
    • 4
  • Gloria Coronado
    • 1
    • 3
  • Hoai Do
    • 1
  • Erica Woodall
    • 1
  • T. Gregory Hislop
    • 4
  1. 1.Cancer Prevention ProgramFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (M3-B232)SeattleUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health ServicesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  3. 3.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Cancer Control Research ProgramBritish Columbia Cancer AgencyVancouverCanada

Personalised recommendations