Sociocultural perspectives on physical activity in the lives of older african american and american indian women: A cross cultural activity participation study

Karla A. Henderson, Barbara E. Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Illuminating the diversity and sociocultural specificity of women's experiences may be important if healthy lifestyles and quality of life are to be achieved. The incidence of cardiovascular disease linked to physical inactivity is high among African American and American Indian women. If more is understood about the experience of physical activity involvement, healthier living might be encouraged. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the sociocultural meanings of physical activity for older (over the age of 40 years) African American and American Indian women who participated in the Cross Cultural Activity Participation Study (CAPS). Through qualitative in-depth interviews, we explored how sociocultural perspectives are related to perceptions about physical activity. Gender and other sociocultural factors influenced physical involvement on a continuum from negligible to significant. Both groups interviewed showed evidence that opportunities for physical activity in their free time did not always exist for them. For African American women, history and daily living issues were important factors limiting their involvement. Margin-ality limited American Indian women, but their cultural pride was often a source of physical activity. The juxtaposition of cultural and personal values emerged as a determinant of physical activity involvement among the women in this study. A further expansion of cultural and personal life situation perspectives is recommended to help understand the complex dimensions of physical activity as it relates to healthy living.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalWomen and Health
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 18 2000

Keywords

  • African American
  • American Indian
  • Constraints
  • Culture
  • Leisure
  • Physical activity
  • Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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