The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3074.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - Board 8

Abstract #66876

Why most physical activity interventions for African American woman have failed: Three short answers

Elize Marie Brown, JD, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, 140 Warren Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720-7360, (510) 638-4064,

The last decade has been a rich and productive period for developing and testing behavior change interventions for preventing coronary heart disease. Some of the most intensive research has been conducted in the area of lifestyle change, including physical activity and nutrition. African American women bear a disproportionate burden of heart and other chronic disease and consistently rate among the highest with respect to lack of physical activity and poor nutrition. Notwithstanding a recent focus on culturally-appropriate behavioral modification, few physical activity interventions have produced demonstrable and sustainable results for African American women. What are we doing wrong? Answer One: Most program designs fail to address the multitude and complexity of barriers encountered by Afircan American women trying to make lifestyle changes. Answer Two: Few physical activity interventions are tailored for an African American woman's cultural context. Answer Three: Lifestyle behavior choices, such as when, where and how to exercise, are not only influenced by individual will and discipline. The external context within which choices are made is also a critical element of promoting and discouraging physical activity. This paper will examine the intervention research literature on strategies for increasing physical activity among African American women and discuss some recent qualitative research findings. In addition, the paper will discuss the need to move from solely focusing on individual-level risk factor reduction to more traditional public health solutions, including socio-structural approaches that create environments that support African American women in becoming more physically active.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Physical Activity, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Bridging the Cultural Divide

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA