Translational Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 249–253 | Cite as

Neighborhood Eating and Activity Advocacy Teams (NEAAT): engaging older adults in policy activities to improve food and physical environments

  • Matthew P Buman
  • Sandra J Winter
  • Cathleen Baker
  • Eric B Hekler
  • Jennifer J Otten
  • Abby C King
Case Study


Local food and physical activity environments are known to impact health, and older adults are generally more vulnerable to health-related environmental impacts due to poorer physical function and mobility impairments. There is a need to develop cost-conscious, community-focused strategies that impact local food and physical activity environment policies. Engaging older adult community residents in assessment and advocacy activities is one avenue to address this need. We describe the Neighborhood Eating and Activity Advocacy Team project, a community-based participatory project in low-income communal housing settings in San Mateo County, CA, as one method for engaging older adults in food and physical activity environment and policy change. Methods and strategies used by the “community action teams” to generate relevant neighborhood environmental data, build coalitions, prioritize complex issues, and advocate for change are presented. Advocacy groups are feasible among older adults to improve food and physical activity environments.


Food environment Physical activity environment Advocacy Neighborhood assessment Seniors Participatory research 



This work was supported in part by a Clinical Translational Science Award Seed Grant awarded through the Stanford University Office of Community Health (PI: King). Drs. Buman and Hekler were supported by the US Public Health Service grant 5T32HL007034 from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Dr. Otten was supported by a Nutrilite Training Grant. We thank Dominique Cohen; Katherine Dotter, RD; Jill Evans, MPH; Laura O’Donohue; Ami Patel; Kevin Pieretti; Rhonda McClinton-Brown, MPH; Alicia Salvatore, PhD; and Marilyn Winkleby, PhD for their assistance in conducting the NEAAT project. We thank the residents of the two community housing settings who participated in this project.

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of Behavioral Medicine 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew P Buman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sandra J Winter
    • 1
  • Cathleen Baker
    • 3
  • Eric B Hekler
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jennifer J Otten
    • 1
  • Abby C King
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Stanford Prevention Research CenterStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA
  2. 2.School of Nutrition and Health PromotionArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA
  3. 3.Health Policy and PlanningSan Mateo County Health SystemSan MateoUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health Research and PolicyStanford University School of MedicineStanfordUSA

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