263109 Adoption and maintenance of physical activity among midlife and older African American women

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Audrey Austin, MPH, MA , Department of Psychology, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL
Background: Middle-aged and older African American women report the lowest rates of physical activity compared to men, younger women, and similarly aged White women, as well as higher death rates from conditions associated with physical inactivity. Though inactivity among African American women has received increased attention since the early 1990s, research regarding how older African American women successfully increase and maintain their physical activity levels is lacking. Purpose: This study aims to identify factors associated with successful adoption and maintenance of physical activity among active midlife and older African American women. This study also evaluates the applicability of the Physical Activity Evolution model to describe the process by which older women incorporate regular physical activity into their lives. Methods: Open-ended individual interviews were conducted with African American women aged 45 years and older who reported engagement in physical activity at nationally recommended levels for 6 months or more. Data from the interviews were analyzed using deductive qualitative analysis methods. Results: Pilot interview data suggest that using scheduling strategies and experiencing noticeable benefits of physical activity are key factors in older African American women's progression toward a physically active lifestyle. Contrary to the Physical Activity Evolution model, social support from activity companions was not found to be a strong determinant of activity. Conclusion: Physically active midlife and older women are an understudied population whose experiences could better inform future efforts to promote increased activity among sedentary women.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the process through which middle-aged and older African American women develop a physically active lifestyle 2. Identify factors contributing to successful adoption and maintenance of physical activity among middle-aged and older African American women

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator for the dissertation study on which this abstract is based. My research interests, as reflected in this project, include health disparities, healthy aging, and behavioral adherence to health recommendations.
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.