Determinants of Physical Activity Among Somali Women Living in Maine
- 985 Downloads
Somali women living in the US are at increased risk for chronic health conditions due to changes in lifestyle following immigration. Numerous barriers to physical activity have been reported in this population. Behavioral theory may inform the design of successful health interventions. We explored in focus groups the behavioral determinants of physical activity (theory of planned behavior, self-efficacy) among Somali women (N = 30). We found that most (two-thirds) subjects were sedentary, although women who had lived in the US for 10 years or longer were more likely to be active. Somali women recognize the health threat of physical inactivity, including high rates of obesity. Moral norms appear to be the major barrier to physical activity, due to prohibitions against exercising in public or in Western-style clothing. Taking moral norms into consideration should allow for the design of culturally-appropriate exercise programs that can address a major health threat in this vulnerable population.
KeywordsPhysical activity Immigrant Women Behavioral determinants Obesity
The authors would like to thank Nananda Col, M.D., M.P.H., and Paul Han, M.D., for their helpful criticism. This research was supported with funding from the Maine Medical Center Research Institute.
- 3.Resources for State and Community Programs March 2010. “CDC’s Guide to Strategies for increasing Physical Activity in the Community.” CD-ROM. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010.Google Scholar
- 4.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010) State indicator report on physical activity, 2010 national action guide. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/downloads/PA_State_Indicator_Report_2010_Action_Guide.pdf.
- 9.Chapter 1. Somali History and Immigration to the United States. From URL: www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/guidestoolkits/EthnographicGuides/Somalia/chapters/chapter1.pdf. Accessed Mar 2011.
- 10.US Department of Health and Human Services. Office of Refugee Resettlement. Fiscal Year 2006 Resettlements. From URL: www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/orr/data/fy2006RA.htm. Accessed Nov 2010.
- 12.Leinberger-Jabari A. Diet and physical activity in the Somali community: Somali Health Care Initiative focus group findings. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota International Health Volunteers. 2005. From URL: http://www.wellshareinternational.org/sites/default/files/Diet%20and%20PA%20PDF.pdf. Accessed Nov 2010.
- 19.Ajzen I, Driver BL. Application of the theory of planned behavior to leisure choice. J Leisure Res. 1992;24:207–24.Google Scholar
- 22.English as a Second Language Programs, from: www.maine.gov/dhhs/oma/MulticulturalResource/educ.html. Accessed Feb 2011.
- 23.Atlas.ti, from URL: http://www.atlasti.com/product.html. Accessed Nov 2010.
- 24.Task Force on Community Preventive Services. Recommendations to increase physical activity in communities. Am J Prev Med. 2002;22(4S):67–72.Google Scholar
- 25.Stodolska M, Livengood JS. The influence of religion on the leisure behavior of immigrants Muslims in the United States. J Leisure Res. 2006;38:293–320.Google Scholar
- 30.Manstead ASR. The role of moral norm in the attitude-behavior relation. In: Terry DJ, Hogg MA, editors. Attitudes, behavior, and social concepts. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; 2000. p. 11–30.Google Scholar
- 32.Putnam R. The prosperous community: social capital and public life. Am Prospect. 1993;4:1–11.Google Scholar