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Health Educ Behav. 2015 Jun;42(3):321-8. doi: 10.1177/1090198114557128. Epub 2014 Dec 10.

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

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The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA
The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX, USA.
The University of Texas School of Public Health-Austin Regional Campus, Austin, TX, USA.
USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA.
University of Houston, Houston, TX, USA Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ, USA.


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/m(2)), 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.


community; exercise; incentive; minority health; participatory research; social environment

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