Environmental Changes to Increase Physical Activity: Perceptions of Older Urban Ethnic-Minority Women

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

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Emily Lees
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Wendell C. Taylor
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Joseph T. Hepworth
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Karina Feliz
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Andrea Cassells
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Jonathan N. Tobin
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Despite the numerous benefits of physical activity, older adults continue to be more sedentary than their younger counterparts, and sedentary behavior is more prevalent among older racial and ethnic minorities than among Whites. This study used the nominal group technique (NGT) to examine participants’ perceptions of what neighborhood environmental changes would encourage greater physical activity for older African American and Hispanic women. Participants age 50–75 years were recruited from 2 urban community health clinics. Nine NGT sessions (45 participants) were conducted. The women were asked what changes in their neighborhood environment would encourage them to become more physically active. Responses to the research question were tabulated, and qualitative analysis was used to identify themes and categories. Major categories were physical environment changes, safety, and activities/social support. Although the physical environment received the greatest number of points, concerns for personal safety cut across categories. Participants indicated the need for more facilities in which to be active.

Lees was with the College of Nursing, Houston Baptist University, Houston, TX, at the time of this study. Taylor is with the School of Public Health–Behavioral Science, University of Texas, Houston, TX 77225. Hepworth is with the College of Nursing, University of Arizona, Yuma, AZ. Cassells and Tobin are with the Clinical Directors Network in New York, NY 10018, as was Feliz at the time of this study.

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