Journal of Behavioral Health and Psychology. 2017; 7(1):(231-318)


Exploring barriers and access to physical activity in a Mississippi African American community: a qualitative study

Brenda W. Campbell Jenkins, Clifton C. Addison, Monique S. White, Frances Henderson, Dorothy McGill, Donna Antoine-LaVigne, Marinelle Payton

Abstract

Background: This study was designed to examine the level of participation in physical activity (PA) in a Mississippi African American community. Methods: We selected the Metro Jackson Area comprised of Hinds, Madison and Rankin Counties because it is a combination of urban and rural communities. The sample consisted of 70 participants from seven sites. A total of seven focus groups were asked to respond to five questions and statements to assess physical activity participation: Focus groups consisted of 6–12 participants and were asked to comment on their participation in physical activity. The focus group interviews were digitally-recorded. The recorded interviews were transcribed by a professional transcriptionist. Results: Focus group members were aware of facilities that were available in their communities to facilitate physical activity. They also cited the built environment as a contributing factor in the decision to participate or not participate in physical activity. They feel that interventions to target inadequate physical activity should target the safety of the physical environment and personal and social correlates of PA. Conclusion: Sustaining physical activity and exercise routines continue to be a challenge to many individuals, and particularly in African American communities where opportunities and facilities for large scale organized exercise may be limited. It may be up to individual African American communities to devise and manage intervention programs that include regular physical activity as a deterrent to the spiraling rise in obesity and cardiovascular disease.

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