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Research Project: Childhood Obesity Prevention

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Using community insight to understand physical activity adoption in overweight and obese African American and Hispanic women: A qualitative study

Author
item Mama, Scherezade - Md Anderson Cancer Center
item Mccurdy, Sheryl - University Of Texas Health Science Center
item Evans, Alexandra - University Of Texas
item Thompson, Deborah - Debbe
item Diamond, Pamela - University Of Texas Health Science Center
item Lee, Rebecca - University Of Houston

Submitted to: Health Education and Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/11/2014
Publication Date: 6/1/2015
Citation: Mama, S.K., Mccurdy, S.A., Evans, A.E., Thompson, D.J., Diamond, P.M., Lee, R.E. 2015. Using community insight to understand physical activity adoption in overweight and obese African American and Hispanic women: A qualitative study. Health Education and Behavior. 42(3):321-328.

Interpretive Summary: Theoretical models suggest that there are many factors that influence physical activity, including personal, social, and environmental factors. Research is needed to understand how these factors influence physical activity in ethnic minority women. In-depth interviews were conducted to identify and understand the factors that influence physical activity in African American and Hispanic women. Confidence, motivation, and time were identified as important personal factors, while neighborhood safety and resource accessibility were mentioned as important environmental factors that influenced their physical activity behavior. Taking care of others and social support were also mentioned. This study emphasizes the multiple factors that influence physical activity adoption and maintenance in ethnic minority women. Understanding these factors can contribute to the development of intervention approaches that are tailored to their specific needs and concerns, thus increasing the likelihood of success.

Technical Abstract: Ecologic models suggest that multiple levels of influencing factors are important for determining physical activity participation and include individual, social, and environmental factors. The purpose of this qualitative study was to use an ecologic framework to gain a deeper understanding of the underlying behavioral mechanisms that influence physical activity adoption among ethnic minority women. Eighteen African American and Hispanic women completed a 1-hour in-depth interview. Verbatim interview transcripts were analyzed for emergent themes using a constant comparison approach. Women were middle-aged (age M = 43.9 +/- 7.3 years), obese (body mass index M = 35.0 +/- 8.9 kg/m2), and of high socioeconomic status (88.9% completed some college or more, 41.2% reported income >$82,600/year). Participants discussed individual factors, including the need for confidence, motivation and time, and emphasized the importance of environmental factors, including their physical neighborhood environments and safety of and accessibility to physical activity resources. Women talked about caretaking for others and social support and how these influenced physical activity behavior. The findings from this study highlight the multilevel, interactive complexities that influence physical activity, emphasizing the need for a more sophisticated, ecologic approach for increasing physical activity adoption and maintenance among ethnic minority women. Community insight gleaned from this study may be used to better understand determinants of physical activity and develop multilevel solutions and programs guided by an ecologic framework to increase physical activity in ethnic minority women.