A Phenomenological Study of Obesity and Physical Activity in Southern African American Older Women

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Pamela G. Bowen
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Yvonne D. Eaves
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David E. Vance
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Linda D. Moneyham
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African American women are more likely to be classified as overweight or obese than European American women and little is known about this phenomenon. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the lived experiences of overweight and obese African American older women living in the southern regions of the United States. Semistructured, audiotaped interviews were conducted to elicit narratives from nine participants. Interview data were transcribed verbatim and then coded and analyzed using Colaizzi’s phenomenological analysis framework. Three major categories emerged: impact of health conditions, incongruent perceptions, and the desire for independence. The focus of culturally appropriate interventions aimed at increasing physical activity for this group should incorporate activities that will help them remain independent, because weight loss is not a primary motivator.

Bowen, Vance, and Moneyham are with the School of Nursing, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL. Eaves is with the WellStar School of Nursing, WellStar College of Health & Human Services, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA. Address author correspondence to Pamela G. Bowen at pbowen@uab.edu.

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