Active Ottumwa Logo

Team members:

  • UIowa: Rima Afifi, Natoshia Askelson, Barbara Baquero, Sandy Barto, Becky Bucklin, Jason Daniel-Ulloa, Paul Gilbert, Heidi Haines, Kathleen Janz, Helena Laroche, Nicole Novak, Edith Parker
  • Partners: Ottumwa Community Advisory Board

Project dates: 2014-2018

Funding sources: UI PRC-RH

Project tags: Physical activity; Evidence-based interventions; Community engagement; Lay health advisors



The mission of Active Ottumwa was to support accessible, affordable, and sustainable physical activity programming for adults in Ottumwa, Iowa. This program built community connections through partnerships leading to a healthy, positive, and vibrant Ottumwa.

Active Ottumwa started as a community-based research project. The research portion of Active Ottumwa is complete, and was later taken over by the Hy-Vees of Ottumwa until the COVID-19 pandemic shut down program activities. Active Ottumwa trained local volunteers as Physical Activity Leaders (PALs) who guided and supported adults to be physically active. Active Ottumwa provided a fun and free experience for everyone in the community. 

The work of Ottumwa community partners set an example for community-based change in physical activity. We are expanding the Active Ottumwa model to micropolitan communities across Iowa in a program called Active Iowa.



Ottumwa Community Advisory Board

We thank the Ottumwa Community Advisory Board (CAB) for their work with the University of Iowa Prevention Research Center for Rural Health (UI PRC-RH) to make this program happen. The CAB was founded in April 2012. The CAB advised the UI PRC-RH on all program activities.


Active Ottumwa Final Report

The Ottumwa Community Health Survey took place in spring 2013 and spring 2018 by phone. People from Ottumwa 18 years or older were randomly surveyed by telephone. In 2018, the surveyors gathered 950 responses and in the original 2013 survey, surveyors gathered over 1,000 responses. The 2013 survey showed 27% of people did not meet recommended levels of physical activity and many noted they did no leisure time physical activity in a week. Findings from the 2013 survey helped the Ottumwa Community Advisory Board to choose physical activity as the health topic to address by this project.



A logic model explains the resources, activities, products, outcomes, and impact of Active Ottumwa.

Active Ottumwa Logic Model


Resources, Media, and Publications:


  • A Community on the Move: The Story of Active OttumwaThis ten-part podcast series tells the story of Active Ottumwa, a community-based physical activity intervention for adults in the micropolitan community of Ottumwa, Iowa. In this podcast series, we hear from community leaders, researchers, program participants, and program Physical Activity Leaders on the ins and outs of the Active Ottumwa project and where this project is going next.
  • Active Ottumwa Fact Sheets - These documents are a record of Active Ottumwa, including community updates and posters from conference presentations about the project.
  • COVID-19 Response in Active Ottumwa - This fact sheet describes results from a survey with local Ottumwa leaders on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on physical activity in Ottumwa as of May 2020.
  • GPAQ to ActiGraph Calibration Web App -This web app enables researchers to upload GPAQ values and download predicted values which are calibrated to more accurately represent what would have been recorded via ActiGraph.



  • Baquero, B., Novak, N., Sewell, D., Kava, C. M, Daniel-Ulloa, J., Askleson, N., Ashida, S., Laroche, H., Maldonado, A., Bucklin, R., Haines, H., Janz, K., Parker, E. (2024). Effectiveness of implementing evidence-based approaches to promote physical activity in a Midwestern micropolitan area using a quasi-experimental hybrid type I study design. BMC Public Health. 24, 1082. 10.1186/s12889-024-18523-9
  • Woods-Jaeger, B., Daniel-Ulloa, J., Slagel, L., Bucklin, R., Maldonado, A., Gilbert, P.A., Parker, E.A., Baquero, B. (2020). Building leadership, capacity, and power to advance heath equity and justice through community-engaged research in the Midwest. America Journal of Community Psychology. doi: 10.1002/ajcp.12462 
  • Parker, E.A., Baquero, B., Daniel-Ulloa, J., Diers, L., Haines, H., Kava, C.M., Hellige, K., Hernandez, H., & Novak, N. (2019). Establishing a Community-Based Participatory Research Partnership in a Rural Community in the Midwest. Progress in community health partnerships: research, education, and action, 13(2), 201-208.
  • Baquero, B., Kava, C.M., Ashida, S., Daniel-Ulloa, J., LaRoche, H.H., Haines, H., Bucklin, R., Maldonado, A., Coronado Garcia, M., Berto, S., Sewell, D., Novak, N., Janz, K., Gates, C., & Parker, E.A. (2018). Active Ottumwa: Adapting evidence-based recommendations to promote physical activity in a micropolitan new destination community. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(5). doi: 10.3390/ijerph15050917
  • Metcalf, K.M., Baquero, B.I, Coronado Garcia, M.L., Francis, S.L., Janz, K.F., Laroche, H.H., & Sewell, D.K. (2018). Calibration of the global physical activity questionnaire to Accelerometry measured physical activity and sedentary behavior. BMC public health, 18(1), 412.


  • Bucklin, R., Shultz, H., Richlen, M., Berto, S., & Askelson, N. Active Ottumwa: A community on the move, using podcasts to highlight a physical activity intervention in a micropolitan community. Oral Presentation at: Public Health Conference of Iowa: April, 2021; Virtual
  • Baquero, B., Askelson, N., Haines, H., Daniel-Ulloa, J., Bucklin, R., Sewell, D., Novak, N., Maldonado, A., Ross, G., Berto, S., & Parker, E. A. Using community-engaged partnerships to increase community wide physical activity in Iowa communities; Implications of Active Ottumwa. Oral Presentation at: Iowa Governor’s Conference on Public Health: April, 2019; Des Moines, IA
  • Bucklin, R., Baquero, B., Maldonado, A., Daniel-Ulloa, J., Haines, H., Ross, G., Berto, S., & Parker, E. Implementing a community-based participatory research intervention to promote a community-wide physical activity program in the rural Midwest. Oral Presentation at: Active Living Research Conference: February, 2019; Charleston, SC
  • Daniel-Ulloa, J. Maldonado, A., Gilbert, P. Bucklin, R., Afifi, Baquero, B., & Woods-Jaeger, B. Changing the conversation: The health equity advancement lab’s pedagogy for public health. Oral Presentation at: American Public Health Association annual meeting: Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now. San Diego, CA: Nov 10-14, 2018
  • Maldonado, A., Baquero, B., Daniel-Ulloa, J., Haines, H., Bucklin, R., Worth, W., Diers, L., Dunn, B., Siems, B., Burnside, C., Parker E. The role of psychosocial stressors on elevated levels of blood pressure among white and Latino residents of a micropolitan community in the Midwest. Oral presentation at the American Public Health Association annual meeting. Atlanta, GA: November 4-8, 2017


  • Daly, E., Evans., S., Lee, A., Bucklin, R., Maldonado, A., Berto, S., Askelson, N., & Afifi, R. Identifying COVID-19 relief and recovery needs in Ottumwa, Iowa. Public Health Conference of Iowa. Virtual: Apr 5-9, 2021
  • Baquero, B., Worth, W., Bucklin, R., Daniel-Ulloa, J., Maldonado, A., Haines, H., Berto, S., Parker, E. Engaging in a multi-sector partnership to adapt and implement the community guide recommendations for physical activity in a rural micropolitan new destination city in the Midwest USA. Active Living research Annual Conference: Future-Proofing Activity: Application Across Sectors. Banff, Canada: Feb 11-14, 2018
  • Baquero, B., Worth, W., Bucklin, R., Daniel-Ulloa, J., Maldonado, A., Ashida, S., Haines, H., Berto, S., Parker, E. Lessons learned from adapting and implementing the community guide recommendations for physical activity to a rural micropolitan city in the Midwest USA. 10th Annual conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health. Arlington, VA: Dec 4-6, 2017
  • Baquero, B., Worth, W., Bucklin, R., Daniel-Ulloa, J., Haines, H., Berto, S., Hellige, K., Parker, E. Active Ottumwa: A community based participatory research project to increase physical activity. Prevention Research Center Director’s Meeting. Atlanta, GA: Nov 9, 2017