Understanding Barriers to Physical Activity Among African American Women

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Spring 4-2021


When it comes to African American women, we know that physical activity among them is low. Additionally, chronic diseases associated with low levels of physical activity are high among African American women such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension (Office of Minority Health). This poster presentation will feature the following research questions: What makes it hard for you to be physically active? What makes it easy for you to engage in physical activity? What is your biggest concern for Black women in terms of health and weight? To collect data on those questions we held four focus groups with black women from 18-25 years old. A focus group is a research method used where participants come together to provide feedback regarding a particular topic or area of interest. It is useful because it helps us collet data and gives insight on other individuals. According to the focus group, the ladies stated that perceived need, time, motivation, crowed/audience, support, priorities, time management and safety can all create barriers to physical activity. All of us are different and may have to balance more or less than others. Some women may work, go to school and have to parent which can put a lot of stress on them especially trying to find free time or someone to help support you. Some of us may need just a little motivation to do better. Things that may make physical activity easier are healthy social support, adequate priority, time management, motivation, driven by results and access. When you have that extra push to go harder or see that your body is changing in a better way, it makes you want to continue. Sometimes people can’t afford gym memberships, the equipment needed or may not live close to a place where they can work out but it’s easy when you have it all right there in front of you. Physical activity can also be as simple as taking a jog up and down the street, dancing or even doing some yard work. The biggest concern with health and weight seems to be obesity, black women’s mental health being taken seriously by medical community and in the black community. Many people think we’re supposed to be strong black women and we should be able to handle everything that comes our way. In the black community, many people believe that speaking to someone such as a therapist about your problems is not appropriate for our culture. If you feel like you are depressed and you need some guidance, why is it bad to want to seek help? Everyone isn’t built the same way so just because you may be able to handle a situation doesn’t mean it won’t break the next person down. There are many people who care about the physical activity and well-being of African American women such as the African American women themselves, Nutritionist and their loved ones. It is very important that African American women take care of themselves to live a healthier and longer life.

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