Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 263–275 | Cite as

Perspectives on Physical Activity Among Immigrants and Refugees to a Small Urban Community in Minnesota

  • Mark L. Wieland
  • Kristina Tiedje
  • Sonja J. Meiers
  • Ahmed A. Mohamed
  • Christine M. Formea
  • Jennifer L. Ridgeway
  • Gladys B. Asiedu
  • Ginny Boyum
  • Jennifer A. Weis
  • Julie A. Nigon
  • Christi A. Patten
  • Irene G. Sia
Original Paper

Abstract

Immigrants and refugees to the United States exhibit relatively low levels of physical activity, but reasons for this disparity are poorly understood. 16 gender and age-stratified focus groups were conducted among 127 participants from heterogenous immigrant and refugee groups (Cambodian, Mexican, Somali, Sudanese) in a small Minnesota urban community. We found many similarities in perceived barriers and facilitators to physical activity between heterogeneous immigrant and refugee groups. While the benefits of physical activity were widely acknowledged, lack of familiarity and comfort with taking the first steps towards being physically active were the most significant barriers to physical activity. Participants described being motivated by social support from family, friends, and communities to be physically active. Our findings suggest that shared experiences of immigration and associated social, economic, and linguistic factors influence how physical activity is understood, conceptualized and practiced.

Keywords

Immigrant and refugee health Physical activity Focus groups 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark L. Wieland
    • 1
  • Kristina Tiedje
    • 2
  • Sonja J. Meiers
    • 3
  • Ahmed A. Mohamed
    • 4
  • Christine M. Formea
    • 5
  • Jennifer L. Ridgeway
    • 6
  • Gladys B. Asiedu
    • 6
  • Ginny Boyum
    • 7
  • Jennifer A. Weis
    • 8
  • Julie A. Nigon
    • 9
  • Christi A. Patten
    • 10
  • Irene G. Sia
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MedicineMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyUniversité Lumière Lyon 2LyonFrance
  3. 3.Department of NursingWinona State UniversityRochesterUSA
  4. 4.College of Human MedicineMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  5. 5.Department of PharmacyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  6. 6.Department of Health Sciences ResearchMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  7. 7.Rochester Community and Technical CollegeRochesterUSA
  8. 8.Center for Translational Science ActivitiesMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  9. 9.Hawthorne Education CenterRochesterUSA
  10. 10.Department of Psychiatry and PsychologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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