235606 African American Women's Eating, Physical Activity Practices and Attitudes about the Body They Are In

Sunday, October 30, 2011: 4:00 PM

Michelle A. Doldren, MPH EDD , Institute for Child Health Policy, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Cheng A. Wang, MA MS , Institute for Child Health Policy, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Deborah A. Mulligan, MD FAAP FACEP , Institute for Child Health Policy, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Black women's experiences with healthy eating and physical activity in Broward County, FL were examined using a mixed-methods study comprising focus groups and surveys. Forty women 18 to 45 years participated in the study. The mean body mass index was 29.6--defined as overweight. The mean intake of fruit was 2.0 per day and the mean intake of vegetables was 1.9 per day. The majority of the women failed to meet the recommended moderate physical activity levels.

Facilitators of healthy eating were the knowledge of the benefits of healthy eating, the ability to preplan, family influences, and serving as a role model. Barriers of healthy eating were cultural practices of food preparation, poor taste and cost of healthy foods, and a lack of credible information of healthy eating that specifically targets women. Facilitators of physical activity were knowledge of the benefits of physical activity, motivation and commitment, and serving as a role model. Barriers to physical activity were family influences, competing priorities, and lack of physical activity information that women can relate to.

Women's overall perception about appearance and weight were also explored. Although the majority of the women were overweight or obese, they were less likely to perceive themselves as overweight. On the other hand, the majority of the women also expressed that they were “not happy” with their weight and were actively working to make a change. Developing programs addressing barriers and facilitators presented is paramount to improve outcomes.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the attitudes and practices of Black women as it relates to healthy eating and physical activity. 2. Describe the challenges associated with practicing preventive health measures among Black women. 3. Discuss the implications of women’s perception of their personal appearance and weight as a factor in their current preventative health practices.

Keywords: African American, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Planned,implemented and analyzed this research study as a part of requirement for my doctoral degree.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.