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Ethn Dis. 2011 Summer;21(3):261-7.

Factors related to physical activity and recommended intervention strategies as told by midlife and older African American men.

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  • 1Prevention Research Center, Department of Exercise Science University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, USA.



Few interventions have targeted preventive health behaviors of midlife and older African American (AA) men. This study derived pertinent information with personal interviews to develop a tailored physical activity (PA) intervention for AA men -45 years of age.


Participants were 49 AA men aged 45-88 years. Personal interviews ascertained PA barriers, enablers, and preferences, and components that would render a PA program appropriate for and appealing to AA men of similar ages. Taped interviews were transcribed and organized in NVivo for analysis. Common themes were identified by multiple research staff.


Most often cited barriers to PA included time constraints, lack of social support, low motivation, poor access, and factors related to chronic conditions and aging. Although men preferred traditional forms of sports and exercise when younger, they learned to adapt the intensity and duration as they aged, and walking was viewed as an acceptable alternative. Recommended strategies for a community-based PA program were building social support, camaraderie, and accountability among men through healthy/friendly competition and social interaction, using accessible community facilities, and including education about men's and aging-related health issues.


The qualitative research process yielded new and insightful information that can be used to develop a tailored PA and health program for midlife and older AA men.

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