This study identified perceived physical activity (PA) enablers and barriers among a racially/ethnically and geographically diverse group of older adults. Data were from 42 focus groups conducted with African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, Chinese, Vietnamese, and non-Hispanic Whites (hereafter Whites). Constant-comparison methods were used to analyze the data. Common barriers were health problems, fear of falling, and inconvenience. Common enablers were positive outcome expectations, social support, and PA program access. American Indians mentioned the built environment and lack of knowledge about PA as barriers and health benefits as an enabler more than participants in other groups. Whites and American Indians emphasized the importance of PA programs specifically designed for older adults. Findings suggest several ways to promote PA among older people, including developing exercise programs designed for older adults and health messages promoting existing places and programs older adults can use to engage in PA.
Mathews is with the Dept. of Health and Exercise Science, Furman University, Greenville, SC. Laditka and Laditka are with the Dept. of Public Health Sciences, University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Wilcox, Corwin, Liu, and Friedman are with the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Hunter is with the Center for Aging and Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Tseng is with the School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley. Logsdon is with the Faculty of Psychosocial and Community Health, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.