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Title:Understanding physical activity among older African American women: A mixed-methods approach
Author(s):Sebastiao, Emerson
Director of Research:Chodzko-Zajko, Wojtek
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chodzko-Zajko, Wojtek
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Graber, Kim; Schwingel, Andiara; Zerai, Assata
Department / Program:Kinesiology & Community Health
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Physical Activity
Minority Groups
Older adults
Health Promotion
Health Disparity
Participatory Approach
African American
Abstract:African Americans bear a disproportionate burden of chronic diseases and disabilities and present one of the highest prevalence of physical inactivity compared to other racial/ethnic groups. Older African American women are a particular vulnerable group for physical inactivity and consequent chronic disease. Physical activity at recommended levels has the potential to improve health and well-being, and prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease and disabilities. Studies have shown that different factors can facilitate and/or to prevent physical activity in different population and age groups. However, why African Americans present with higher rates of chronic disease compared with other racial groups as well as with lower levels of physical activity participation needs clarification. The present study sought to explore the understanding of physical activity in older African American women and factors that contribute to their decision to be physically active or sedentary. Additionally, this study explored perceptions and reactions to current public health materials used to educate the general public about physical activity. In order to achieve these goals, a mix-methods design involving quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis was employed to examine possible differences in the understanding of physical activity between active and inactive older African American women. In order to have a better understanding of the findings, this study was driven by the Socio Ecological Model of Health Behavior, which was supplemented by elements of health disparity literature. Three themes emerged from the analysis of photos and in-depth interviews: (1) What Physical Activity Means to Me; (2) My Challenges; (3) My Community. Additionally, from the focus group discussion two themes emerged: (1) We May Have Trouble in Reading It; (2) It Does Not Reflect Us. The factors that negatively and positively influence physical activity were similar among both active and inactive groups. Moreover, the factors influencing physical activity in this population are generally consistent with the Socio Ecological Model of Health Behavior and elements of the health disparity literature. In the focus group discussions, this study found that complex language, technical terminology, and unrepresentative activities were viewed as barriers that prevented a clear understanding or reception of messages used to promote physical activity.
Issue Date:2015-04-14
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Emerson Sebastião
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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