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Alexander Vigo, PhD

Associate Professor
Towson University
  • New Connections Status: Junior Investigator
  • Award Year: 2010, Active Living Research
  • RWJF Team/Portfolio:
    Childhood Obesity
  • Project Name:
    Physical Activity Policies and Opportunity for Hispanic Adolescents in Secondary School Environments
  • Professional Bio

    Dr Vigo is an Assistant Professor, in the Department of Kinesiology at Towson University. Since 2008, he has been a faculty member in the physical education teacher education program. As a professor, he has been involved in teaching, research, and service related to physical education and physical activity. Dr. Vigo’s research interests include: (a) examining physical activity policies and opportunities, (b) physical activity behavior patterns, and (c) health promotion at school settings. He earned a BA degree in physical education form University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus (2000); a MA in Human Movement Analysis from the Inter-American University in Puerto Rico (2002), and a PhD in sport and Exercise Education from The Ohio State University (2008). From 2006-2009, Dr. Vigo served as Co-director and later director of the Puerto Rico en Forma Evaluation Project; a community service and evaluation project designed to determine the risk of health-related factors such as physical activity, food behavior, body composition indices among adolescents and adults living in Puerto Rico.

    Project Description


    The overarching aim of this study is to examine school practices and policies to determine school climate toward healthy living (e.g., emphasis on MVPA), and to examine environmental factors to determine limitations and opportunities for Hispanic adolescents at public schools in Puerto Ricoto engage in physical activity. Situated in an ecological theoretical framework, the purpose of this study is to analyze schools' instructional practices and policies, and to analyze environmental variablesthat either accommodate or limit Hispanic adolescents' physical activity choices and behaviors while traveling to and from schools, and while at these schools.Mixed method research will be used in the conduct of this study. To achieve the study's aim, the researchers will collect and analyze both quantitative and qualitative data in a concurrent mixed methods design. Descriptive data will be collected using demographic surveys and content analysis procedures, qualitative data will be collected with semi-structured interviews, and quantitative data will be collected using survey questionnaires Several sites will be public high schools in Puerto Rico and their surrounding randomly. Using content analysis procedures (Bordens & Abbott, 1999), researchers will analyze school policies relevant to physical education (e.g., curricular requirements, time allocation and class scheduling, core requirements for graduation); use of physical activity facilities; and extracurricular activities (e.g., sports, intramurals, after school programs). Such information will illuminate each school's climate relative to the emphasis or lack of emphasis on healthy living, particularly in regard to physical activity.

    Why I Applied to New Connections

    I applied for New Connections because of the opportunities provided to junior researchers to achieve their goals in research and academia. The program successfully guide new faculty and researchers on their vision to significantly contribute to those populations in disadvantage and to their field.

    What New Connections Means for my Career

    New Connections has giving me the opportunity to achieve several goals that otherwise, it would be very challenging to accomplish. First, being part of New Connections has giving me the opportunity to conduct research project and impact the Hispanic adolescents in Puerto Rico who are showing a significant increase in overweight and obesity. Second, New Connections has provided me with important tools to success in and outside of the academia by providing their knowledge and experience through workshops and conferences. Also, as a New Connections grantee, I have been able to interact, learn, and establish relationships with other researchers who are engaging in similar research project. Most importantly, New Connections has consistently provided support to ensure our success in the research project and beyond.

    Research Interests

    Research interests include examining (a) physical activity behavior patterns and physical activity policies and opportunities at school settings, especially at schools serving Hispanic adolescents.


    Sport and Exercise Education; Physical Activity and Health Promotion; Research

    Populations Served

    Research sites will be several public high schools and the surrounding environment selected from across Puerto Rico. According to the Department of Education in Puerto Rico, approximately 99% of the adolescents in public high schools are Hispanics. Today, about half of all Hispanic adolescents at secondary public schools in Puerto Rico are in high risk of developing health-related diseases due to overweight/obesity status, come from low-income families, have poor dietary habits, and lack adequate physical activity.

    Honors and Awards


    2008 - Teaching Excellence Award, Sports, Fitness, and Health Program, School of Physical Activity and Educational Services, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University.         

    2007 – Marilyn Ruth Hathaway Education Scholarship, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University. 



    Hodge, S. R., Del Rio, L., & Vigo-Valentín, A. (2008). Puerto Rico en forma evaluation report II. Unpublished governmental report: Departamento de Recreacíon y Deportes, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    Hodge, S. R., Del Rio, L., & Vigo-Valentín, A. (2007). Puerto Rico en forma evaluation report. Unpublished governmental report: Departamento de Recreacíon y Deportes, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

    Siedentop, D., An, J., Ayvazo, S., Cervantes, C., Cohen, R., Collins, F., et al. (2007). The Ohio Project: Progress in preventing childhood and youth obesity, How do we measure up? Columbus, Oh: Ohio Collaborative.