Employing a participatory research approach to explore physical activity among older African American women

Emerson Sebastião, Kelechi Ibe-Lamberts, Julie Bobitt, Andiara Schwingel, Wojtek Chodzko-Zajko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction.Older African American women are particularly vulnerable to unhealthy lifestyle behaviors such as physical inactivity and the resultant chronic diseases and conditions. This study explored older African American women's perception of physical activity as well as facilitators of and barriers to being physically active in their local environment. Methods. Using a participatory research approach, a total of 7 women aged 65 years and over had their PA level assessed objectively through accelerometry. In addition, physical activity was discussed through the photo-elicitation procedure, which was supplemented by semistructured interviews. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to identify patterns and themes emerging from participants' interview. Results. Participants exhibited low levels of physical activity and viewed "physical activity" to be a broadly defined, nonspecific construct. Interviews revealed that many participants lack important knowledge about physical activity. A variety of personal, social, and environmental facilitators and barriers were reported by the participants. Conclusion. Efforts should be made towards clarifying information on physical activity in this population in order to help them incorporate physical activity into their routines, overcome barriers, and make use of opportunities to be active.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number941019
JournalJournal of Aging Research
StatePublished - 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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