Laefstael Jenses: An Investigation of Barriers and Facilitators for Healthy Lifestyles of Women in an Urban Pacific Island Context

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The Pacific region has experienced rapid urbanization and lifestyle changes, which lead to high rates of noncommunicable disease (NCD) prevalence. There is no information on barriers and facilitators for healthy lifestyles in this region. In response, we present the first stage of a rigorous development of an urban Pacific health intervention program. This paper describes formative work conducted in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The objective of this paper was to understand cultural barriers and facilitators in Pacific women to lifestyle change and use the findings to inform future health interventions.


Semistructured focus groups with 37 female civil servants divided into 6 groups were held verbally to understand barriers and facilitators for healthy lifestyles.


Several perceived barriers and facilitators were identified. Inter alia, barriers include financial limitations, time issues, family commitments, environmental aspects, and motivational hindrances that limit time and opportunities for healthy lifestyle behavior. Facilitators include more supportive environments, social support mechanisms, and the implementation of rigorous health policies.


Formative work is essential in designing health intervention programs. Uncovered barriers and facilitators help inform the development of culturally relevant health interventions.

Siefken and Schofield are with the Centre for Physical Activity and Nutrition, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand. Schulenkorf is with the Discipline Group of Management, Events, Leisure, Sport, Tourism, and Arts Programs, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

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