Ethnic minority and low-income populations have the highest rates of cardiovascular disease and the lowest rates of leisure-time physical activity. Because physical activity reduces the risk of premature death and disability from cardiovascular disease, researching correlates to such activity in these populations is an important aspect of health promotion in the US. To identify environmental, policy, and cultural barriers to physical activity in women, The Women's Cardiovascular Health Network Project conducted focus groups with White, African American, Latina, and American Indian women aged 20–50 years. The focus groups were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed with QSR NUD*IST qualitative software using a set of codes developed a priori by the research team. Family priorities were a main barrier to physical activity in all the groups. Having multiple roles as wife, mother, daughter, and as an active community member was mentioned as time-consuming and difficult, leaving little time or energy for exercise. Cultural barriers, which varied among the groups, included acculturation issues, lack of community support, and lack of past experience with exercise. Physical activity interventions suggested involved work programs, family-friendly programs, increased social support, and the availability of safer places to exercise such as parks, well-lit walking trails, and recreation centers. Many of the barriers were common to all groups (e.g., family priority) while some were unique (e.g., lack of community support). Assessing and addressing the issues raised should be considered when planning physical activity interventions for these populations.
- Physical activity
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