African American women and physical activity
Authors: Gletsu, Mawunyo; Tovin, Melissa
Source: Physical Therapy Reviews, Volume 15, Number 5, October 2010 , pp. 405-409(5)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:Background: The rates of overweight and obesity are the highest in African American women over 40 years of age. Excess weight is associated with significant health risks. Physical activity is an essential component of weight management and disease prevention. Participation in physical activity is lower among African American women than all other race–gender groups except Mexican American women.
Objectives: This article reviews the literature on the role of physical activity in weight management in African American women. There were limited studies to include in the review. Intervention studies with primarily African American women failed to demonstrate a significant increase in physical activity behaviours over the long term. Qualitative studies explored the role of physical activity in the lives of African American women through focus group and semistructured interviews.
Major findings: Common identified facilitators of physical activity included setting goals, convenient, safe places to exercise, and having social support. Common identified barriers to physical activity included physical activity interfering with caretaker roles, lack of child care, and unsafe neighbourhoods.
Conclusions: Few physical activity studies of African American women were identified. Future studies should focus on promoting family physical activity, as social support is a key component of successful adoption of physical activity in this population.
Document Type: Review Article
Affiliations: Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33328, USA
Publication date: 2010-10-01