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Emily Lees, Wendell C. Taylor, Joseph T. Hepworth, Karina Feliz, Andrea Cassells and Jonathan N. Tobin

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.

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Wendell C. Taylor, James F. Sallis, Emily Lees, Joseph T. Hepworth, Karina Feliz, Devin C. Volding, Andrea Cassels and Jonathan N. Tobin


Middle age and older (mean = 58.7 y), racial/ethnic minority women report low levels of physical activity. Recommendations to change the social and built environments to promote physical activity in this group are underdeveloped. Two research questions guided this study: What environmental changes are recommended by racial/ethnic minority women? What policies are related to the environmental changes?


The findings from nine Nominal Group Technique sessions with 45 subjects were analyzed.


More police protection, cleaner streets, removal of drugs from streets, more street lights, walking groups, and free gyms were prioritized by subjects as the most important recommendations. The relevant policies included municipal, police department, sanitation department, public works, and transportation department.


Racial/ethnic minority women living in low income, urban areas recommend improvements that affect overall quality of life. Meeting basic needs may be a prerequisite for use of physical activity resources.